Biden Education Budget Proposes More Higher Ed Investment

The Biden-Harris Administration recently submitted the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2023 to Congress, which includes measures that would support students transitioning from high school to postsecondary education and proposes investments with programs to increase college affordability and ensure that colleges and universities are more inclusive.

The budget also will help schools hire and support teachers, counselors and other personnel in K-12 schools to boost social, emotional and academic development. These include supporting students through pandemic response and recovery, investing in schools with high-poverty rates to address opportunity and achievement gaps, increasing support for children with disabilities and boosting investments in educator recruitment and retention.

If passed by Congress, three measures would not only make college more affordable, but accessible.

Increase equitable funding. If passed, the budget would provide an increase of $752 million over the 2021 levels to enhance institutional capacity at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), Minority Servicing Institutions (MSIs) and low-resourced schools that include community colleges. Included in the proposed funding is $450 million to expand research and development infrastructure at four-year HBCUs, TCCUs and MSIs.  

Invest in affordability of higher education. The Administration’s budget calls for an increase of the maximum Pell Grant by $2,175 over the current academic year through a combination of discretionary and mandatory funding. This measure aims to increase equitable and affordable access to post-secondary education and would benefit approximately 6.7 million students from low- and middle-income families. The Budget also aims to double the maximum Pell Grant by 2029. Also included in the Budget is support for expanding Federal student aid to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, also known as DREAMers.

Ease transition from high school to higher education. Another proposed line item in the Budget is a new $200 million investment in Career-Connected High Schools. This initiative would provide competitive grants to partnerships of local educational agencies, colleges and universities and employers to support early enrollment in postsecondary and career-connected coursework, work-based learning opportunities and academic and carrier-connected instruction that spans from the junior year of high school and freshman and sophomore years of college.

The Administration’s Education Budget aligns with U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s vision for education. In a statement issued in January 2022, Cardona outlined his priorities, including strategies to improve the country’s postsecondary education system, which include creating stronger through-lines between K-12 and higher education and making college and university more affordable.  

“As we work to make colleges more affordable and accountable, we must also make them more accessible. That means creating stronger college and career pathways between our Pre-K through grade 12 systems, our two- and four-year colleges, and our workforce partners so that our systems lead the world,” Cordona explained. If approved, these measures will help ensure that all students – especially those from underserved communities and those impacted by the pandemic, will receive critical resources, as well as “access to affordable higher education and the creation of stronger pathways that meet the demands of our workforce and connect students to well-paying jobs and fulfilling careers," he said.