President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request and Key Educational Priorities

By Zachary Keita, NAfME Advocacy and Public Policy Communications Manager

On March 11, the Biden Administration released its Fiscal Year 2025 (FY 2025) budget request, outlining the president’s priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, which runs from October 1, 2024, to September 30, 2025, and provides funds for the 2024–25 school year.

The president’s budget request typically serves as a starting point for budget and appropriations discussions in Congress, but the current state of FY 2024 appropriations makes FY 2025 a bit more complicated. Because Congress has not come to an agreement on the FY 2024 appropriations bill, the federal government has been operating under a series of continuing resolutions since October 1, 2023. The latest action on FY 2024 appropriations took place on March 8, 2024, when the Senate reached agreement on six of the twelve funding bills that make up FY 2024 appropriations. Before moving on to FY 2025 appropriations, Congress must pass the remaining appropriations bill bills, which includes funding for the U.S. Department of Education (ED), by March 22.

This year, the Biden Administration announced its “Improving Student Achievement Agenda” for 2024, which is focused on supporting evidence-based strategies to improve learning conditions for students, accelerate academic achievement, increase career pathways, expand access to mental health services, and lower the cost of a postsecondary education. To that end, the Biden Administration proposed $82.4 billion in discretionary funding for ED, a $3.1B increase over current FY 2023 funding. Read on to learn more about the president’s key educational priorities and how those affect programmatic funding:

Investments in Schools Located in High Poverty Communities

A key educational priority of the Biden Administration is addressing chronic funding gaps between schools in high-poverty communities and their wealthier counterparts, while continuing to address the academic recovery of students following the COVID-19 pandemic. To help ensure that students attending schools in high-poverty communities have access to a quality well-rounded education, the President requests $18.6 billion for Title I-A, a $200 million increase over FY 2023 funding. This proposed increase would provide districts with additional support in addressing pandemic-related academic decline and providing a well-rounded education that includes music.

The Biden Administration’s budget requests $8 billion in mandatory funding to establish the “Academic Acceleration and Achievement Grants”. This new grant program would provide funds to high-need school districts to help close opportunity and achievement gaps by increasing student attendance and engagement; providing high-dosage tutoring; and expanding summer, extended, and afterschool learning opportunities.

Prioritizing the Health and Well-Being of Students

The president’s budget requests Title IV-A be funded at $1.38 billion in FY 2024, which would provide level funding compared to FY 2023. Title IV-A funds are very flexible and can be used to support well-rounded educational opportunities, activities to improve the safety and health of students, and the effective use of technology. The proposed funding for Title IV-A would limit the benefits this program can provide school communities, and we strongly urge Congress to increase Title IV-A funding when deciding on FY 2025 appropriations.

To further support student mental health and well-being, the Biden Administration proposes investments in several programs to provide students, families, and educators with comprehensive wraparound services. To expand the integrated supports provided by the Full-Service Community School program the Biden Administration requests $200 million, an increase of $50 million over FY 2023. To increase the number of school-based mental health professionals, and to meet the mental health needs of the overall school community (students, teachers, administrators), the Biden Administration would dedicate $40 million of the $216 million allotted to School Safety National Activities (level funding compared to FY 2023) for those purposes. To address mental health needs at the college level, the Biden Administration requests $25 million to support the development of campus wide strategies to address students’ basic and mental health needs.

Additionally, to provide comprehensive arts education, particularly for economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities, the Biden Administration requests $36.5 million for the Arts in Education program, which would provide level funding compared to FY 2023. The proposed funding for the Arts in Education program would limit the benefits this program can provide, and we strongly urge Congress to increase funding when deciding on FY 2025 appropriations.

Increased Support for Children with Disabilities

Recognizing the need for increased support around special education, the Biden Administration’s budget proposes Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B be funded at $14.4 billion, an increase of $200 million over FY 2023 funding, which helps states offset the additional cost of providing special education services and improving educational outcomes for children with disabilities.

The Biden Administration requests $209 million for IDEA, Part D, an increase of $10 million over FY 2023 funding. IDEA, Part D supports special education personnel preparation and helps ensure an adequately staffed special education workforce. This proposed increase makes progress towards addressing the special educator shortage and ensuring staff are adequately trained to address the needs of their students.

Investments in Educator Recruitment and Retention

The Biden Administration’s budget recognizes the need for increased support for the education workforce, and to that end, requests investments in building a more diverse, well-prepared, and effective educator workforce. To bolster the recruitment and retention of effective educators, the president requests $95 million for the Teacher Quality Partnership program, which supports comprehensive educator prep programs such as high-quality residencies and Grow Your Own programs, an increase of $25 million increase over FY 2023 funding.

The Biden Administration’s budget requests $90 million for the Supporting Effective Educator Development program (level funding compared to FY 2023), which supports evidence-based strategies to prepare, develop, and retain an effective and diverse teacher and school leader workforce.

Lastly, the Biden Administration requests Title II-A, the largest program aimed at improving teacher effectiveness and bolstering the number of available education professionals, be funded at $2.19 billion, which would provide level funding compared to FY 2023.

Increasing College Affordability

The Biden Administration’s budget seeks to improve accessibility to higher education, especially for students from low- and middle-income backgrounds. To expand equitable access to an affordable education, the budget would increase the maximum Pell grant by $750 for the 2024–25 grant year, bringing the maximum award to $7,495. The FY 2025 budget also outlines a proposal to double the maximum Pell Grant by 2029. Additionally, the budget includes a mandatory proposal to establish a partnership between the federal government and states that will allow community colleges to provide first-time students up to two years of free postsecondary education.

Increased Funding for HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), TCUs (Tribal Colleges and Universities), and MSIs (Minority Serving Institutions)

To fund and improve infrastructure of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, the budget requests $262 million, a $78 million increase over FY 2023 to support The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). FIPSE initiatives would provide planning and implementation grants that support investments in institutional research and infrastructure, establish a student success program to evaluate and implement evidence-based strategies for academic improvement, facilitate statewide improvements to the post-secondary education continuum, and improve instructional support for basic and mental health needs.

To increase educator workforce diversity, the Biden Administration’s budget requests $30 million, an increase of $15 million over FY 2023, for the Augustus F. Hawkins Center for Excellence program, which supports teacher prep programs at HBCUs, MSIs, and TCUs.

NAfME supports the Biden Administration’s proposed funding increases outlined in the ED budget, but we encourage Congress to seek additional funding for programs that we believe are vital to support music educators, such as Title II, Title IV, and the Arts in Education program. The release of the president’s budget marks the beginning of appropriations season, which means there’s no better time to advocate for robust federal funding to support music education! Stay tuned for updates on appropriations and an upcoming NAfME advocacy campaign that you and your fellow music educators can use to advocate on behalf of the profession.

Happy Music In Our Schools Month®!
April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

March 20, 2024

Category

  • Advocacy
  • Federal Advocacy & Public Policy
  • Music Education Profession
  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Special Education

Copyright

March 20, 2024. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)

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