Federal Funding Update

Fight for Increases to Adult Education’s Annual Appropriation. Next week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies is expected to consider the funding bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 that includes programs like adult education. It is crucial to remind legislators of the importance of adult education and demonstrate why programs need more funding. Please contact your Representatives and Senators now to urge that they include $810 million for the Adult Basic Education State Grants program in the FY23 appropriations bill.

Digital Equity Grants Process Begins

As we have previously reported, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law by President Biden on November 15, creates three Federal grant programs to address the digital divide relevant to adult education: the Digital Equity Planning Grant program, the Digital Equity Capacity Grant program, and the Digital Equity Competitive Grant program. In order to be considered for the Digital Equity Capacity grant, governors must apply for a Digital Equity Planning grant by July 12. Adult education programs are eligible to administer or receive funds from these programs. You can learn more about these opportunities here and we encourage you to reach out to your governor’s office or the entity that the governor has designated as the administrating entity for this funding to engage in the planning process for these grants to ensure a strong role for adult education.


Annual Funding Increases

  • (03/2022) Secured Increases for Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations: COABE, along with our champions in Congress – Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Senator Todd Young (R-IN), Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) – urged Congress to include an increase in adult education funding in the final Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 appropriations omnibus bill. As a result of our collective efforts, the final FY22 appropriations bill included an increase of $15.5 million for the Adult Basic Education State Grants program.
  • (04/2022) Partnered with Legislators to Champion Adult Education Funding for Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations: COABE is fortunate to have champions in both chambers of Congress that advocate for increased funding for adult education. Senators Reed and Young circulated a bipartisan letter, signed by 28 other Senators, requesting that the Adult Basic Education State Grants Program be funded at $810 million for FY23 and doubled in the next five years. Representatives Yarmuth and Grijalva circulated a letter that made the same request, which was signed by six other members of Congress.

Funding Opportunities

  • (10/2022) Included COVID-Relief Funding in Pending Build Back Better Act: Both the House-passed version and the Senate Democratic proposal of the Build Back Better Act include $700 million in direct funding for adult learners and educators. This proposed funding wouldn’t have been possible if not for sustained advocacy and constant support from COABE and adult education advocates across the country. Because this bill is currently stalled in the Senate, sustained advocacy is necessary to get this bill to the President’s desk.
  • (03/2022) Advocated for Adult Education Investments to be Allowable Uses of COVID Relief Funding: In order to mitigate the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed, and Presidents Trump and Biden signed into law several COVID relief funding packages. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act included provisions making adult education investments allowable activities within the funding allocations.

Regulatory Guidance Improvement

  • (01/2022) Prioritized Adult Education at the Department of Education (ED): COABE sent a letter to ED advocating the inclusion and prioritization of adult learners and educators in the Secretary’s grant priorities. As a result of COABE’s advocacy, the Secretary incorporated three of COABE’s recommendations.
  • (09/2020) Broadened the Definition of Measurable Skill Gain and Revising Table 4 of the National Reporting System for Adult Education: In response to the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education’s (OCTAE) comment request on the National Reporting System for Adult Education (NRS), COABE provided public input on OCTAE’s proposed changes. COABE advocated for all MSGs for Integrated Education and Training (IET) students to be reported while also asking for Table 4 of the NRS to be streamlined so that submitting data on adult education programs is easier. As a result of COABE’s advocacy, OCTAE revised Table 4.

Legislative Wins

  • (05/2022) Enhancing Adult Education through WIOA: The House of Representatives passed a bill (R. 7309) to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the law through which Federal funding for adult education flows. Thanks to advocacy and engagement with members of Congress from both the field and COABE leadership, this legislation contains several of COABE’s recommendations, including:
    • Authorizing an innovative pilot performance accountability system, which will enable programs to better measure outcomes and demonstrate all the good work they are doing;
    • Providing a dedicated increase in the amount programs can spend on professional development; and
    • Supporting the development of improved credentials and quality standards for adult educators to enhance career pathways and ensure effectiveness of adult education instruction.

Representative Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) offered an amendment to the bill that clarifies that the pilot accountability system is an alternative to the National Reporting System, ensuring that programs participating in the pilot would not have to report through both systems. This amendment was included in the final bill, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 220-196.

  • (04/2021) Strengthened Research in Adult Education Through Legislation: In April 2021, Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Strengthening Research in Adult Education This legislation would allow the Institute for Education Science (IES) and the National Center for Education Statistics to collect and circulate data that would improve adult education programs at the State and local level. It would also guarantee that adult educators have representation when the IES develops its policy agenda and priorities. COABE will continue to monitor and advocate for the passage of this bill.

These Legislative Updates are brought to you in part by generous support provided by Essential Education.