BREAKING NEWS: House Set to Vote on Budget Reconciliation Package Today!!

After months of negotiations between the White House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the House Progressive Caucus, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Budget Reconciliation: Build Back Better Act of 2021 (H.R. 5376). Late last night, the House Rules Committee posted the 10-page manager’s amendment.

Last week, H.R. 5376 was introduced and included $40 billion in federal funding for higher education and workforce training programs. The budget reconciliation package includes provisions to expand federal student aid eligibility for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients and major investments in research capacity building at Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. An amended Build Back Better Act was introduced yesterday, with no changes to the higher education provisions, which were reported in the Washington Insights and Highlights Newsletter last week. Here is a summary of the amended bill.

In addition to the budget reconciliation package, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill (H.R. 3684) later today. This bipartisan bill passed the Senate last month with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle

What Happens Next: No Deal in Sight for Fiscal Year 2022 Spending Bills

On September 30, President Joe Biden signed a short-term spending bill into law that would fund the U.S. federal government until December 3. With a month to go until funds expire, no agreement has been made regarding topline numbers for defense and non-defense spending. If there is no agreement by December 3, a year-long continuing resolution to fund the government could be a real possibility. In a recent press release, Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy said, “We are now four weeks into the fiscal year, the federal government is running on auto-pilot, and we only have four more weeks until the government shuts down unless Congress takes action. This is not a theoretical exercise. The actions we take, or don’t take, in this Chamber with respect to the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations bills affect people’s lives and the direction of this nation.”


A possible continuing resolution would lead to the elimination of the proposed increases to programs that benefit graduate education and research. Programs that would be affected include: the Department of Education’s Federal Work-Study program; the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need program; international education and foreign language studies; and federally funded fundamental scientific research which is conducted at the nation’s universities.

New Report Shows Benefit of Increasing Pell Grants

A new report by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators shows the gains of increasing the maximum Pell Grant award. The report states, “The simplest, most predictable method of expanding Pell Grant eligibility further into the middle class is to increase the maximum Pell Grant award. The concomitant effect of increasing Pell Grant awards to needier students is a feature, not a bug, and reflects the intended design of the Pell Grant program.”


CGS supports maximizing the reach of Pell Grant awards. Pell Grants are a trusted federal financial aid source with an established program in place that has provided support to millions of undergraduate students. Eligibility could be expanded to include those pursuing a graduate degree, thus helping to meet the need for individuals who possess the knowledge and skills shaped by their education. In September 2021, CGS President Suzanne Ortega sent letters to the House and Senate Leadership to encourage the inclusion of legislative language to expand access to Pell Grant support to graduate students.

CGS Joins Letter on Importance of Supporting International Education

On November 3, CGS joined a coalition letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in support of prioritizing and strengthening the Department of Education’s international and foreign language education and research role. U.S. employers continuously seek more graduates with international business, foreign language skills, and cultural competencies to help restore and strengthen the U.S. economy in today’s uncertain, evolving, and competitive global markets.


Title VI of the Higher Education Act (International Education Programs) and the Fulbright-Hays Act are the federal government’s foundational vehicles to address international educational infrastructure and resources. Key foreign language, regional studies, international business, research, and education abroad infrastructures and capacity must be replenished; interdisciplinary programs increased; and more outreach and access to quality international education for a broad range of underserved institutions and populations enabled.

National Science Board Report Highlights Key Role of U.S. in Scientific Collaborations

A recently published National Science Board report finds that U.S. researcher international collaboration has grown in the past twenty years. In 2000, one in seven research articles in the U.S. had authors from universities or research institutions in at least two countries. That has grown to one in three in 2020, with China being the most frequent partner. National Science Board member and Associate Vice President of the Southwest Research Institute Alan Stern said of the report, “Collaborating with researchers internationally is an essential part of how we advance science, attract talent from around the world, and avoid being technologically surprised.


In 2020, China produced the most (23 percent) science and engineering publications with the U.S. second at 16 percent. Stern stated of the collaboration with researchers from China, “These numbers show that China is both a chief collaborator and a competitor with the United States. Policymakers should be cognizant of this information as we work to balance scientific collaboration with safeguarding research that could impact U.S. national security and economic competitiveness.”