Federal Policy and Legislation

Federal Funding

The annual budgeting and funding process for the federal government begins with the president sending his budget request for the next fiscal year to Congress. Next, Congress crafts its own budget and begins the appropriations process to determine funding levels for federal programs.

Currently, the top-line funding levels for FY16 and FY17 are set by a budget deal agreed to in late 2015. Beginning in FY18, deep cuts in discretionary spending as established through the Budget Control Act of 2011 will continue to cut funding for key programs, including those supporting education. While many federal programs benefit colleges of education, only a few directly target their educator preparation programs. AACTE and its members engage actively with Congress to raise awareness of the impact of these programs and to secure funding to support their work.

Summary of President Obama's FY17 Budget — Areas Related to Colleges of Education

On February 9, 2016, President Obama released his budget request for fiscal year 2017 (FY17). The budget proposed a $1.38 billion, or 2%, increase in discretionary spending for federal education programs over the appropriated level for FY16 in addition to $139.7 billion in new mandatory funding over the next decade. The proposal also included funds for a new program, “RESPECT: Best Job in the World” ($1 billion), to create advancement opportunities for effective teachers in high-need schools, implement teacher-led professional development, and leverage teacher leadership to improve working conditions and school climate.

As in previous years, the president's budget proposal lacked investment in such proven educator preparation practices as clinical preparation and performance assessments. Once again, the president's proposal eliminated the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program – the only federal grant program aimed at strengthening and reforming teacher preparation – and again proposed the Teacher and Principal Pathways grant program with a request of $125 million. The budget also eliminated the TEACH grants in 2021, consolidating federal support for teacher candidates into an expanded loan-forgiveness program for teachers.

In July 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations marked up the FY17 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill. The TQP grants were among many programs zeroed out in the bill. During the markup, Rep. David Price (D-NC) offered an amendment to restore funding for the TQP grant program. Unfortunately, the amendment failed, but subcommittee chairman Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) committed to continuing the conversation about the program as the appropriations process continues. In the Senate bill, the TQP program was level-funded at $43.1 million.

Since Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 9, 2016, attention will now turn to the necessary work of crafting an omnibus or several minibuses by that date. AACTE will continue to advocate for a full restoration of funds to the TQP grant program as well as overall education funding as part of our work with the Committee for Education Funding.

The chart below lists the president's budget request, alongside recent appropriations, for some of the programs that support the work of colleges of education.

Program FY 12 FY 13 FY 14 FY 15 FY 16 FY 17 Request
Teacher Quality Partnership Grants (million) $42.8 40.5 40.59 40.59 43.1 --
Transition to Teaching (million) $26 24.6 13.76 13.7 -- --
School Leadership (million) $14.47 27.58 25.76 16.37 16.37 $30
Title II of ESEA (billion) 2.46 2.34 2.35 2.35 2.35 2.25
IDEA Personnel Prep 88.2 million 83.7 83.7 83.7 83.7 83.7

 

Updated November 2016