Yesterday we wrote that the fiscal year 2011 appropriations process is coming to a close and funding levels for federal education programs could be finalized in the next few days, albeit nearly three months late. Earlier this year the U.S. House and Senate made halfhearted attempts to pass a Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, but neither chamber ever brought a bill up for debate or a vote. As the 111th Congress gets set to adjourn in the next few days, the pressure is on to pass some sort of fiscal year appropriations bill for education programs – and all the other federal programs and agencies subject to annual appropriations.
To finalize fiscal year 2011 funding, last week the U.S. House passed a “continuing resolution” that would fund most programs at their fiscal year 2010 levels. It’s still unclear what might happen in the Senate. Yesterday a draft version of an omnibus appropriations bill – one that funds all federal programs subject to annual appropriations – was circulating in the Senate and it may have enough supporters to pass. If the Senate does pass the omnibus bill, the House and Senate will still have to come to an agreement on a final bill in the next few days.
But that shouldn’t be too difficult. The House continuing resolution provides total funding of $1.09 trillion according the official estimates, and the Senate omnibus provides $1.11 trillion, according to press reports. What’s more, at first glance, it appears education funding is nearly identical between the two proposals – at least that is the case for major programs like Pell Grants and Title I grants to school districts.
We will have more on the fiscal year 2011 education funding as new information becomes available. In the meantime, we’ve assembled the table below that compares fiscal year 2011 funding for education programs based on what information we currently have.