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House, Senate differ on HBCU funding – historically Black colleges and universities – Washington Update

The House of Representatives and the Senate are at odds over how to
fund historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) next year.

In late July, the Senate unveiled a spending bill that would freeze
funding for HBCUs at current levels in 1998. Earlier in July, however,
House appropriators recommended $120 million for HBCUs, an $11 million
increase from current funding.

House members also added an extra $5 million for HBCU graduate
institutions that failed to make it into the Senate bill. Current
funding for HBCU graduate schools is $19 mil lion, the same amount
recommended in the Senate measure.

The Clinton administration’s 1998 budget differs from both the House
and Senate plans. The White House recommended a $4 million increase for
the main HBCU program, but level funding for the graduate program.

The differences between the two bills amount to $15 million in a $34
billion education budget, however, and congressional aides down played
the funding disparity. The House and Senate frequently [TABULAR DATA
OMITTED] recommend different spending levels for federal programs only
to resolve the issue when faced with a tight deadline before the start
of the government’s next fiscal year.

Advocates for Black colleges are pushing for the higher funding
figure in the House bill. After presenting their spending
recommendations, both houses of Congress adjourned until September,
when the pace of action will pick up again. The government’s new fiscal
year begins Oct. 1.

The spending bills also show differences between the House and
Senate in recommendations for student financial aid programs. The
Senate bill would not increase funding for college work/study, even
though the White House and the House favor more funding.

However, the Senate chose to provide a $50 million increase for
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, a need-based program that
has remained at level funding, at $583 million, for much of the 1990s.
Both the House and the Clinton administration proposed level funding
for this program.

The House would cut funds for Perkins Loans, another campus-based
program, while the Education Department (ED) and the Senate recommend
increases (see chart below).

Funding for Pell Grants would increase under both bills, and the
House and Senate each assume a $300 increase in the maximum grant, to
$3,000 next year. If enacted into law, the Pell figure would represent
the third consecutive increase for the program.

Still to be resolved is whether ED can target more Pell Grant aid to
independent students, who usually are older than the average college
population. The Clinton administration and the House both would allow
independent students to claim more grants, while the Senate measure
would not.

ED, the House and the Senate all support an increase for TRIO
programs next year. The $500 million program would increase by $25
million under the president’s budget and the Senate proposal, and by
$32 million under the House proposal.

Lawmakers also favor higher funding for Graduate Assistance in Areas
of National Need, a federal program broadened in the past two years to
include remaining projects under the Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship
program. The graduate program would receive $30 million next year under
the House and Senate bills, up from $24 million this year.

The House and Senate both would increase support for Howard
University next year, but the House proposed a larger gain. Both bills
also would terminate the State Student Incentive Grant program, which
the Clinton administration also targeted for elimination.

RELATED ARTICLE: ED Opens TRIO Grant Competition

The U.S. Education Department (ED) has opened a competition for more
than 400 new grants under the federal TRIO programs that help recruit
youth to attend and succeed in college.

ED expects to make 347 awards under the Talent Search program, which
identifies low-income, first-generation-in-college youth and encourages
them to complete high school and enroll in post-secondary education.
Those eligible to apply for funds include colleges and universities,
and consortia of agencies.

Applications became available Aug. 1 and are due Oct. 31. The 347
awards will range from $190,000 to $400,000, with an average grant of

The federal government also will make eighty-one awards under the
Educational Opportunity Centers program, designed to help individuals
apply to college and get information about financial and academic

Colleges and universities are eligible to apply for this TRIO
program as well, along with public and private agencies and, in some
cases, secondary schools if there are no other potential applicants in
a particular service area.

Applications for this competition also became available Aug. 1 and
are due by Sept. 30. Awards will range from $190,000 to $450,000, with
an average grant of $357,000. For more information, see the July 14
Federal Register or contact ED at (202) 401-1576.

COPYRIGHT 1997 Cox, Matthews & Associates

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