Senate Panel Approves Budget Increases for Pell Grants and NIH in 2015

June 11, 2014

Senate appropriators approved a spending bill on Tuesday that would increase the maximum Pell Grant by $100, to $5,830, and provide an additional $606-million to the National Institutes of Health in the 2015 fiscal year.

The measure would increase spending on federal Work-Study by $35-million over the 2014 budget and President Obama's plan, and would offer $15-million more for Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants.

It would provide an additional $8.4-million for the TRIO college-prep programs and $3-million more for the Gear Up program. Minority-serving institutions would get $8.7-million more than they did in the 2014 budget, including an additional $3.7-million for historically black colleges and $1.6-million more for Hispanic-serving institutions.

Tuesday’s work on the measure, known as a markup, was the final one for Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who has led the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education or has served as its ranking member for 25 years and is retiring this year. Mr. Harkin said he was proud of his final legislation, calling it a "good bill with bipartisan priorities."

Republicans on the panel praised Mr. Harkin’s leadership, but one, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, said he couldn’t support the measure because it provided funds for health-insurance exchanges under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The measure, which covers the fiscal year that begins on October 1, now heads to the full Appropriations Committee and then on to the Senate floor. If it passes, as expected, it will have to be reconciled with the House of Representatives’ version of the measure, which has not yet been introduced.

Correction (6/11/2014, 10:34 a.m.): The Senate bill would raise the maximum Pell Grant by $100, not $1,000, as this article previously stated.