TRIO Avoids Cuts in FY 2024 Senate Appropriations Bill; Stage Set for Fall Funding Fight

Amidst bipartisan support, the Senate Appropriations Committee has greenlit the FY 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) bill before recess, maintaining level funding for TRIO and GEAR UP programs; however, a contentious budget showdown looms between House and Senate as they reconvene in September, potentially necessitating a Continuing Resolution to avert government shutdown, making local advocacy crucial for securing education funding.

Before the Senate left for its August recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) bill by a bipartisan vote of 26-2. The Federal TRIO Programs and GEAR UP were funded at FY2023 levels: TRIO at $1.2 billion and GEAR UP at $388 million. Other than a discretionary increase in the maximum Pell Grant award by $250, bringing the total maximum award to $7,645, the Senate bill effectively froze education funding at FY2023 levels. This action was expected as the Senate Appropriations Committee had previously advanced spending bills that, in accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, required level funding for most government programs.

The appropriations bills advanced in the House and Senate are quite far apart regarding spending levels and set the stage for a larger battle this fall. When the House and Senate return to Washington, DC in September, they will only have three weeks to pass all 12 appropriations bills on the floor of each chamber and reach an agreement on final FY 24 funding levels before the new fiscal year starts October 1, 2023. Because it is unlikely that an agreement will be reached in this short timeframe, Congress will likely pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government running at current FY2023 levels after a final agreement is reached. However, some House conservatives have indicated they have no interest in extending funding at current levels and are pushing for even bigger spending cuts than are in the bills reported by the House Appropriations Committee. As a result, fears are beginning to emerge about a possible government shutdown. Ultimately, the Fiscal Responsibility Act requires that all government spending bills be passed by December 31, 2023; otherwise, all funding will be held at FY2023 levels, minus an automatic, across-the-board 1% cut, for the remainder of FY2024.

With so much division about spending, it is gratifying to know that TRIO maintains bipartisan, bicameral support. This would not be possible without the consistent advocacy of TRIO supporters at the local level. Therefore, during this August Recess, all TRIO supporters are strongly encouraged to meet with their Members of Congress – either on campus, at local town hall meetings, or at other venues – to shore up their support. Check out COE’s FY2024 Congressional Outreach Packet for hints, tips, strategies, and examples to help you advocate locally this summer. Together, we can help ensure that TRIO receives the highest funding possible in FY2024.

COE is challenging the TRIO community to host as many local visits with their Representatives and Senators as possible.

Get in Touch

Questions? Contact COE Vice President for Public Policy Diane Shust.

Diane Shust

Vice President, Public Policy [email protected]


Director, Congressional Affairs

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