June 04, 2019

Watson Coleman Fights for First Generation College and Low-Income College Students in House Appropriations Legislation

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) secured support for low-income and first-generation college students in the Fiscal Year 2020 House Agriculture and Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations bills. Provisions championed by Watson Coleman and included in the Agriculture Appropriations bill reported out of the committee would clarify SNAP eligibility to ensure more students understand how to qualify, and further direct the Food and Nutrition Service to review and disseminate best practices from state SNAP agencies already working to assist eligible college students (page 63). Language in the report accompanying the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education funding bill would require the Department of Education to study and report to Congress ways to improve the effectiveness of current federal policy in supporting first-generation college students (page 196).

“Higher education remains a tested ladder for lifting more Americans into the middle class, yet the students who need the most dedicated support are missing it, even when programs that would provide vital lifelines to them already exist,” said Watson Coleman. “These provisions provide simple opportunities to make existing programming more efficient, closing the gaps and ensuring more first-generation and low-income students can focus on graduating and leveraging their degrees into financial growth for themselves and their families.”

The Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations bill directs non-mandatory spending for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, as well as various related agencies including the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, and the Social Security Administration. A summary of the fiscal year 2020 LHHS bill is here. The text of the bill is here. The bill report is here.

The Agriculture Appropriations bill sets funding for agencies including the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the CFTC. A summary of the Agriculture Appropriations is here. The text of the bill is here. The bill report is here.