On March 9, the Biden Administration released its FY 2024 budget request, outlining the president’s priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, which runs from October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024. The president’s budget request serves as a starting point for budget and appropriations discussions in Congress, which will ultimately pass federal spending legislation for FY 2024.
The Biden Administration supports the Department of Education’s (ED) comprehensive “Raise the Bar” initiative to address longstanding inequities faced by students and educators and provide a well-rounded education to all students, especially by those in under-resourced communities. To that end, the Biden Administration requests $90.0 billion in discretionary funding for ED, a $10.8B increase over 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. To help ensure that students attending schools in high-poverty communities have access to a quality well-rounded education, the President requests $20.5 billion for Title I-A, a $2.2 billion increase over last year’s 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.
Prioritizes the Health and Well-Being of Students
The president’s budget requests Title IV-A be funded at $1.4 billion in FY 2024, a $25 million increase over FY 2023 funding, to support student social and emotional well-being, in addition to their academic recovery. Title IV-A funds can be used to support well-rounded educational opportunities, safe and healthy students, and the effective use of technology. This proposed increase to Title IV-A would allow for increased support to well-rounded education opportunities, such as music, which have been shown to improve social and emotional well-being of students. Additionally, to address the decline in the mental health of students, the president’s budget requests $578 million to bolster the number of school-based counselors, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals in K-12 schools and support higher ed institutions in the development of strategies to address student mental health needs.
Increases Support for Children with Disabilities
Recognizing the need for increased support around special education, President Biden’s budget proposes IDEA, Part B be funded at $16.3 billion, an increase of $2.1 billion over FY 2023 funding, which helps states offset the additional cost of providing special education services and improving educational outcomes for children with disabilities.
President Biden requests $250 million for IDEA, Part D, an increase of $135 million over FY 2023 funding. IDEA, Part B supports special education personnel preparation and helps ensure an adequately staffed special education workforce. This proposed increase makes significant 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 president’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 $132.1 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 $52.1 million over FY 2023 funding. The president 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, an increase of $20 million over FY 2023 funding. Lastly, the president’s budget requests $40 million to reinstate the School Leader Recruitment and Support Program, which provides grant funding to improve the recruitment, retention, training, and support for principals and other school leaders as well as high-quality training for aspiring principals and school leaders.
Increasing College Affordability
The president’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 $820 for the 2024-25 grant year, bringing the maximum award to $8,215. The FY 2024 budget also outlines a proposal to double the maximum Pell Grant by 2029. Additionally, the budget requests $500 million to establish a new grant program that will allow community colleges to provide students up to two years of free postsecondary education.
Increases Funding for HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), TCUs (Tribal Colleges and Universities), and MSIs (Minority Serving Institutions)
To more equitably fund and improve infrastructure of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, the budget requests $350 million to establish an initiative within the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The new FIPSE initiative would provide planning and implementation grants that support investments in institutional research infrastructure, including physical infrastructure and human capital development.
To increase educator workforce diversity, the president’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 president’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 and Title IV. 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®!
March 24, 2023. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)