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President Releases Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request

USA flag and American dollars. American flag blowing in the  wind and 100 dollars banknotes in the backgroundOn Monday, February 10, 2020, the President kicked off the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget process by making his budget request to the Congress. Generally released on the first Monday in February, the delay reflects the delay in completing the FY20 appropriations process, which concluded on December 20, 2019. With a divided Congress, we should expect the Administration’s highest priorities to emerge as the heads of agencies and departments testify before the subcommittees of jurisdiction on the Appropriations committees later this spring. We will then learn the priorities of the Democratic Caucus leading the U.S. House of Representatives and those of the Republican Caucus leading the U.S. Senate, as subcommittee bills are released and marked up.

For the U.S Department of Education (Department), the President’s Budget Request cut the agency’s funding by $6.1 billion, or 8.4% from Fiscal Year 2020 levels. The key initiatives in the President’s Budget Request include the following:

Education Freedom Scholarships

This program establishes a federal tax credit program for voluntary donations to state-designed scholarships for elementary and secondary students offered by state-identified 501c3 non-profit entities. While these scholarships have been proposed before, this FY21 request includes and expansion of the opportunities for students and families.

Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged Block Grant

This new program would consolidate 27 K-12 programs, and at least one higher education program, the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant program, into a single block grant to provide states with more flexibility to meet the needs of the state’s communities and students.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) 

The Administration’s request increases the funding for CTE programs by nearly a billion dollars to ensure that every high school in America has access to CTW programs to support students in receiving the training necessary for high-paying in-demand jobs.

Postsecondary Student Aid

The budget request proposes an evaluation of moving the Office of Financial Aid to a separate organization. In addition, the Administration is seeking to end some programs while allowing options like “short-term Pell” to support students seeking a credential, certification, or license in a high-demand field.

The President’s request for programs important to the profession include the following:

  • Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program (Title II, HEA)
    • $0; rolled into Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged.
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants (Title II-A, ESSA)
    • $0; rolled into Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged.
  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV-A, ESSA)
    • $0; rolled into Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged.
  • Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Grants (ESSA)
    • $0; rolled into Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged.
  • School Safety National Activities
    • $0; rolled into Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged.
  • Special Education Personnel Preparation
    • $89.7 m – level funded at FY20 amount
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness
    • Eliminated
  • Subsidized Stafford Loans
    • Eliminated
  • TEACH Grants
    • Maintained
  • Institute for Education Science
    • Research, Development , and Dissemination $195.9 m – level funded at FY20 amount
    • Research in Special Education – $56.5m – level funded at FY20 amount
    • Regional Education Laboratories – eliminated
    • Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems – eliminated

Below are  full details on the U.S. Department of Education’s FY2021 Budget Request:

Review the FY 2021 Budget for the entire U.S. Government:

As a reminder, this is the first step in an often long process. Congress will begin its response to this request later this spring, with the process unfolding during, and therefore impacted by, the election process. Currently the Congress intends to finish its appropriations process on time, by September 30, 2020.

Stay tuned to AACTE’s Federal Update webinars (January’s is posted on the federal page of the AACTE Advocacy Center) to learn what Congress is doing in terms of appropriations over the coming months. You can also sign up for AACTE’s Action Alerts to make your voice heard as this work unfolds, and follow Ed Prep Matters and Twitter (@AACTE, @koolbeck) for updates as well.

Please Note: There will be no AACTE February 2020 Federal Update Webinars offered. Please attend one of my Washington Update sessions at the Annual Meeting (February 28 – March 1) in Atlanta, GA. In addition, consider attending the Government Relations and Advocacy Committee’s preconference, “Your Levers of Civic Power: Moving the Gears of Democracy.” Register today for the preconference by the February 21 deadline! See you in Atlanta!


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Deborah Koolbeck

Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE

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