More Delays in Education Funding
The recent anthrax scare on Capitol Hill is posing another obstacle to the completion of funding bills for student financial aid and minority-serving institutions.
Pell Grants, college work/study and funding for historically Black colleges are among the hundreds of education programs that have been operating with only temporary funds since the start of the government’s new fiscal year Oct. 1. The House has completed action on its 2002 education spending bill, while the Senate companion bill still is awaiting floor action.
Lawmakers already were struggling to finish work when one Senate office building and two House office buildings closed after the discovery of anthrax spores. Both the House and Senate took longer-than-usual weekend breaks while experts tested the buildings following discovery of an anthrax-laced letter to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
Though lawmakers are back at work, some office buildings still are closed, adding to an already tense time as Congress tries to finish its budget work while also debating anti-terrorism measures following the Sept. 11 attacks.
A House-passed education spending bill calls for a $30 million increase for the main HBCU aid program along with an additional $3 million for HBCU graduate institutions. The same bill also contains an extra $15 million for Hispanic-serving institutions. The Senate’s companion bill and the White House, have proposed smaller increases for these programs.
The House and Senate are proposing a $250 increase in the maximum Pell Grant, which also is above the recommendation of the Bush administration.
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