Washington Watch: FY23 community college earmarks

By Alexis Gravely

Community colleges across the country will receive millions of dollars in additional designated funding from the federal government as a part of Congress’ fiscal year (FY) 2023 omnibus appropriations package passed late last month and just signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Nearly $183 million of community project funding — formerly known as earmarks — will go directly to community colleges. Among other things, they will be used to offer new and expanded program offerings, improve facilities and equipment, and support students on their path to completion.

A total of 144 colleges will receive funding from the Departments of Education, Labor and Health and Human Services across 163 projects (there may be additional funding for community colleges in other departments), based on analysis of the FY23 omnibus by American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) staff. Fifteen institutions will receive funding for multiple projects, with three projects being the maximum for a single institution or district: the Los Angeles Community College District, San Diego Community College District and Wayne County Community College District (Michigan).

The projects for community colleges originated from all political parties represented in Congress, with 118 projects initiated by Democrats, 46 projects initiated by Republicans and two projects initiated by Independents. (Some projects were originated by multiple members and in both chambers.)

The average amount of funding directed to community colleges was $1.2 million, with $8 million as the largest amount provided for a single project. That funding will go to Arkansas State University Three Rivers for facilities and equipment.

A few of the projects that will be funded include:

Here’s a complete list of projects funded for community colleges in the Labor-HHS-ED funding bill.

Despite some Republicans’ opposition to earmarks, the House GOP voted in November to allow them in the fiscal year 2024 appropriations package, as the party takes over the House majority. AACC will keep members informed of House and Senate deadlines to submit project funding requests to their senators and representatives.

This article originally appeared in CC Daily.

Alexis Gravely

is a legislative analyst at the American Association of Community Colleges.