Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled on Tuesday a spending bill for the 2016 fiscal year that would slash education spending by $2.8 billion over all, while providing increases for college-preparatory programs and the National Institutes of Health.
The measure, which an appropriations panel will take up on Wednesday, would revoke a $370-million surplus in Pell Grants, setting up the program for shortfalls in the future. But it would increase the maximum award in the short term, raising it by $140, to $5,915, in the 2016-17 academic year.
Under the bill, the NIH would get a $1.1-billion increase — $100 million more than President Obama had requested — while the TRIO and Gear Up college-prep programs would get an additional $60 million and $21 million, respectively, in the fiscal year that begins on October 1.
Meanwhile, the bill would block the Education Department from proceeding with a college-ratings plan and regulations governing “gainful employment,” teacher preparation, the credit hour, and state oversight over distance education. Lawmakers have tried to thwart such rules in past bills, to no avail.