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Introduction from Emily Shields

Conversations about appropriations continued this week at the Capitol. On the House side, several appropriations bills have been released. While we don’t have new information about our appropriation, we anticipate more concrete discussions soon. A few bills of interest to Iowa’s Community Colleges did move forward this week. That included HF2278, which provides funding for FAFSA completion, which was approved in the House Appropriations Committee. SF2307 passed the Senate, which lifts official transcript requirements for some professional licensing boards. Additionally, the House passed SF2337, which expands who can serve as a third-party CDL tester, sending the bill to the Governor for signature. See the Bill Watch below for full details on legislation we are tracking.

Revenue Estimating Conference (REC)

The REC met today and said that the Iowa economy has had a strong recovery after COVID but faces some uncertainty. The panel raised its revenues estimate over the next two years to $9.17 billion and $9.16 billion. They also adjusted down their estimates on state revenues to less than $9 billion in three years, in part due to the tax cuts in HF2317.

State Board of Education Appointments

Last Friday, four new members were elected to the Iowa State Board of Education:

  • Nathan Peterson, Johnson
  • Cindy Dietz, Polk 
  • Cassandra Halls, Polk 
  • Alaina Whittington, Ringgold 

Federal Update

This week, agreement was reached on an omnibus spending bill. Early in the week, the House of Representatives passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 by a vote of 260 - 171 (Axne, Hinson, and Miller-Meeks voted in favor and Feenstra voted against). Thursday, the Senate also approved the bill by a vote of 68-31 (Ernst and Grassley both voted in favor). It now goes to President Biden, who is expected to sign. We are excited to share that it includes $2 million in funding for the Iowa College and Career Transition Counselor initiative. We are grateful to Rep. Miller-Meeks for championing this Community Project Funding proposal. Other Community College items in this package:

  • Pell Grant: Max $6,895 ($400 increase, largest in 10 years)
  • Strengthening Community College Training Grant: $50 million ($5 million increase)
  • Strengthening Institutions Program: $110 million ($1 million increase).
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program: $65 million ($10 million increase). Also lifted statutory cap on grant awards, previously limited to 1% of Pell dollars received.
  • Work Study: $1.21 billion ($20 million increase)
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant: $895 million ($15 million increase)
  • Postsecondary Student Success Grants: $5 million to "support evidenced-based activities to improve postsecondary retention and completion rates"
  • Basic Needs Grants: $8 million (25% set aside for Community Colleges, priority to institutions with 25%+ Pell grantees, funding to students)
  • Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development Grant: $20 million
  • FAFSA: provide adjustments to timeline of #FAFSA simplification.
  • Minority-Serving Institutions Aid for Institutional Development: $885 million ($96 million increase)
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