President Releases His FY2016 Budget Proposal

February 5, 2015
Kim Cook, Executive Director

The President released his FY16 budget earlier this week, with a mix of new proposals, follow up to State of the Union mentions and reintroduction of some previous proposals. While the budget includes the standard spending requests, we also see some items that would normally go through the regular legislation process. This could signal a desire by the Administration to address these issues before a potentially long wait for Higher Education Act reauthorization.  

Top-line interest items that echo NCAN’s policy priorities include proposals to:

Extend Pell Grant inflation indexing beyond the current 2017 end 
A demonstration program that could allow experimentation with Pell Grant support for dual enrollment
FAFSA simplification to remove burdensome and hard to verify answers (Learn more: Senators Endorse End of FAFSA, Policy Change for Better College Choice, and FAST Act Reintroduced
Reforming  campus-based aid allocations to target institutions enrolling and graduating higher numbers of Pell-eligible students.

On a cautionary note, the budget includes language to “strengthen and protect the Pell Grant program while promoting student responsibility” including a provision to “strengthen academic progress requirements in the Pell Grant program in order to encourage students to complete their studies on time.”  While we all work towards timely completion, we note potential concerns of NCAN and its members as changes could have unintended consequences on the 46% of dependent Pell Grant recipients currently attending less than exclusively full-time. While we are still waiting for details about the proposal, it could include increasing the required number of credits attempted per semester, increasing the proportion of credits successfully completed, or raising the GPA requirement. NCAN will advocate and educate around this issue, calling upon members to share important data and student stories.  (Contact Carrie Warick for more information.)

The budget also gave more details on America’s College Promise, the free community college partnership with states, clarifying an income cap of $200,000 as well as a 2.5 GPA and at least half-time attendance.    

For more details about the budget, please visit the Department of Education Budget Office. 

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