The Grant Advisors work hard to keep track of the federal budget and the 26 grant making agencies which distribute billions of grants each year in annual competitions. The Grant Advisors have been watching events on the Hill even as Congress has taken off for their long pre-election recess.
Attorney General Eric Holder to Resign: Attorney General Eric Holder announces that he will resign after six years at the helm of the Justice Dept. The first African-American to serve as attorney general made civil rights and juvenile justice reform, eliminating the school-to-jail pipeline, central components to his tenure at DOJ. This summer, Holder sent a letter to Chief State School Officers and state Attorneys General highlighting the importance of supporting youth in juvenile justice facilities, describing how federal funding can support improved services, and signaling coming work to clarify the components of high-quality correctional education. Holder has agreed to remain in his post until the confirmation of his successor.
DoEd Awards $3.9M to Support Underrepresented Students: The Education Dept. awards $3.9 million to partnerships between postsecondary institutions and school districts that focus on increasing the number of minority and other underrepresented students in gifted and talented programs. Under the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education grant program, grantees carry out demonstration projects, innovative strategies and scientifically-based research to enhance the services provided to gifted and talented K-12 students nationwide. The new grants will allow these partnerships to take models that have proven effective on a small scale and expand the programs to multiple schools or districts.
IDEA Full Funding Act introduced in Senate: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduces S 2789, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Full Funding Act. This bill would increase spending over the next decade to bring the federal share of funding for special education up to 40%, the amount promised when the law was first enacted in 1975. To date, the federal government has never covered more than 16% of these costs per year. The increased funding would be paid for through increased taxes on individuals earning over $1 million per year. The House version of the bill, HR 4136, was introduced in June by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
USDA Posts TA for SNAP Pilot Grants: USDA releases additional technical assistance for prospective applicants interested in applying for the $200 million SNAP grants competition. The grants, Pilot Projects to Reduce Dependency and Increase Work Requirements and Work Effort under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (CFDA Number: 10.596), are open to state agencies and have a Nov. 24 deadline. The grants will pay for projects that design and conduct employment and training (E&T) pilots to help SNAP (formerly Food Stamps)) participants find jobs and increase their earnings. A portion of these funds will be used to fund an independent evaluation of the E&T pilots. About half of all SNAP benefits go to support children and their families.
Senate OKs Bill to Reduce Child Trafficking: The Senate passes a previously approved House bill, HR 4980, that would increase protections against the sex trafficking of foster youth. The measure, authored by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), resolved differences in a number of previous bills in the House and Senate and is fully paid for. Addressing a previous point of contention, the bill would require states to provide youth aging out of the foster care system with essential documents, including a birth certificate, Social Security card, health records and accompanying insurance information, as well as a driver’s license or recognized state ID. Currently, many youth leaving foster care receive little support or guidance towards employment or further education.
$99M to Improve Youth Mental Health Services: HHS Secy. Sylvia Burwell announces $99 million in awards to train new mental health providers, help teachers and others recognize mental health issues in youth and connect them to help, and increase access to mental health services for young people. These funds were included in President Obama’s Now Is the Time plan to reduce gun violence by keeping guns out of dangerous hands, increasing access to mental health services, and making schools safer. HHS distributed more than $48 million to support teachers, schools and communities in recognizing and responding to mental health issues among youth through 120 new Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) grants.
DoEd Allocates $35M for More STEM Teachers: DoEd distributes $35 million for 24 new partnerships between universities and high-need school districts that will recruit, train and support more than 11,000 STEM teachers over the next five years. These Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants will focus on increasing the participation of underrepresented groups—women, minorities and people with disabilities—in teaching STEM subjects. The 2014 TQP grantees will train teachers in a wide variety of approaches to STEM instruction, from early learning through high school levels.