Supercommittee failure means cuts to higher ed

Posted: Tue, 11/22, 1:49pm, Updated: 2 years ago

The failure of a Congressional supercommittee Monday will trigger automatic budget cuts that mean less federal aid to students and university research.

The supercommittee's inability agree on $1.2 trillion in federal budget cuts will slash the Department of Education budget by $3.54 billion in 2013, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

The impasse in committee set off $1 trillion in automatic discretionary spending cuts that will kick in over nine years, starting with the 2013 fiscal year. Cuts to the Department of Education will not affect the Pell Grant program in the first year, but 1.3 million students will see reduced aid from reductions to other federal programs. Career, technical and adult education will see $136 million in cuts, which will affect 1.4 million students, the Chronicle reports.

"The student-aid programs have seen more than their fair share of cuts over the past year, and [the automatic reductions] will enact yet another layer of painful cuts," Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, told the Chronicle.

The University of Minnesota and other major research institutions receive a significant amount of their research money from federal programs like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Last week, a slight increase in the NSF's funding was approved through next September. It is unclear when a bill financing the Department of Education and the NIH will be passed in Congress.

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