As many of you jump back into work and school in the wake of Spring Break, we want you to know that we’ve been monitoring the happenings in Washington that affect student aid.
Just before Congress departed for a mid-session break, both the House and the Senate considered budget resolution bills for FY 2014. A budget resolution is not signed into law by the president—it provides a guideline for how Congress can best balance spending and taxes and sets the maximum spending level for the upcoming year.
The House budget resolution plan brings the federal budget into balance in 10 years while providing $966 billion in total spending (and keeping the recent sequester cuts in place); just $56 billion would be available for education, training and social services. The Pell Grant Program requires $32 billion; this means all other programs that address student aid, K-12 education and other vital social services would have to compete for funding. The House plan also eliminates federal subsidized student loans.
The Senate budget resolution plan calls for $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years, but does not balance the budget. It assumes Congress can and will pass legislation to reverse the sequester cuts and provides the same amount in total spending as the House plan–$966 billion. Of that, $87 billion would be allocated for education, training and social services; subsidized student loans would also be saved, and interest rates would remain steady at 3.4 percent.