Congress Increases Funding to Improve Student's Academic Achievement through Title IV

This past Wednesday, Congress finally released its funding bill for the current fiscal year (FY) 2018. This bill was voted upon by the House and Senate and on Friday it was signed into law by President Trump. There is good news within the bill for the larger arts community and for all our collective work to advance arts education.

First, Congress increased funding for the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For this fiscal year, each of the Endowments will receive $152.85 million. This is an increase of $3 million over last year. This increase in funding continues to show the bipartisan support in Congress for these agencies and their missions. This contrasts with the last two budgets from the current Administration which proposed zeroing out funding for these agencies.

Second and equally exciting for those seeking to use Federal funds to advance arts education is a 150% increase to $1.1 billion for the Student Supports and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAE) program.

As you may remember, this program was created by Congress with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in late 2015 and GIA was instrumental in ensuring that arts education be an allowable expenditure of funds. This program was funded for the first time in fiscal year 2017 at $400 million nationally. This new funding allowed an opportunity for school districts around the country to make funding decisions without a legacy of past uses competing with using these funds for new ideas such as advancing arts education. With this $1.1 billion appropriation many school districts will see their allocations double – providing additional, not previously tapped resources under this program.

With the passage of this bill, now is a great time to engage with your grantees to help them understand the importance of making their school districts aware of the ability to support arts education through the SSAE program. Those of your grantees who already have close partnerships with their local schools are in an especially good position to have these discussions. These new funds will allow districts to make new decisions to fund the arts or expand existing ones.

In the coming weeks GIA will have more information out that will help your grantees know who and how to contact their schools and districts on this issue. Do not hesitate to reach out to GIA should you have any questions on this funding or how your grantees can best engage on this issue.

Image: Pixabay/ernestoeslava