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FY 2024 budget proposal is disappointing for 21st CCLC, but includes other afterschool related increases

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FY 2024 budget proposal is disappointing for 21st CCLC, but includes other afterschool related increases

Today the Biden administration released its FY 2024 discretionary budget request, formally kicking of the FY2024 appropriations process, while debate around raising the debt ceiling continues. With regard to afterschool and summer learning support, the proposal requests $1,329,673 for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), which would be level with last year’s funding for local afterschool and summer learning programs. Overall the fiscal year 2024 Budget requests $90.0 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education, a $10.8 billion or 13.6 percent increase from the fiscal year 2023 enacted level.

The lack of a proposed increase for 21st CCLC comes in the context of record unmet demand for afterschool programs which remained high during the pandemic. There are 24.7 million children who are not in an afterschool program, but would be enrolled if a program were available to them, meaning for every child in an afterschool program, there are four more who are waiting for an available program. It is important to note that the president’s budget is a proposal, and that Congress alone is responsible for appropriating federal funds. Work will continue making the case for increased afterschool and summer learning support as part of Congress’ FY 2024 spending bills.

While 21st CCLC funding is level with last year, the proposed budget does include increases for full-service community schools and Title I, which both provide funding to high poverty schools. The full budget proposal now heads to Congress where the FY 2024 appropriations process is just beginning. This year, to address entrenched disparities in education, the Administration is requesting $20.5 billion for Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to close opportunity and achievement gaps in our nation's schools and help schools sustain programs that support students' academic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic, a $2.2 billion increase above FY 2023. Furthermore, the proposal requests $368 million to expand Full-Service Community Schools that provide integrated student supports for students and their families, more than doubling funding for this program.

Specific funding levels in the budget proposal for education programs that support afterschool and summer include:

  • The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers: $1.329 billion, level with FY 2023 funding. This is the largest funding stream exclusively for afterschool and summer learning and provides 1.6 million students with quality programming outside of the school day.
  • Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies: $20.5 billion for Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to close opportunity and achievement gaps in our nation's schools and help schools sustain programs that support students' academic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic, a $2.2 billion increase above FY 2023.  Schools are able to spend Title I funds on afterschool and summer learning programs.
  • Title II-A Funds for Teacher Professional Development: $2.2 billion, level funded with last year.
  • Title IV Full Service Community Schools: $368 million, an increase of $218 million over FY 23 enacted funding level, to provide comprehensive services and expand evidence-based models that meet the holistic needs of children, families, and communities. Out-of-school time programs are a key element of community schools.
  • Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: $1.4 billion, a $25 million proposed increase. These funds for school districts established under ESSA support activities that provide students with a well-rounded education, ensure safe and supportive learning environments, and use technology to improve instruction. Allowable uses for the grant include support for afterschool STEM activities. 
  • Education, Innovation, and Research (EIR): $405 million is proposed, which is a $121 million increase from FY 2023. EIR funds have been used in past years for STEM education as well as evidence-based, field-initiated innovations that address student social and emotional learning needs. 
  • Career, Technical Education (CTE): $1.7 billion an increase of $226 million is proposed for the Perkins V CTE program. 

And in the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies:

  • Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): $9 billion, an increase of $1 billion over the FY 2023 enacted level; in addition to supporting child care for children ages birth through five, the CCDBG funds afterschool programs for just under 1 million school-age children.
  • AmeriCorps: The President’s Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 provides $1.479 billion for AmeriCorps. The Budget will support more than 200,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in meeting important issues of our time - addressing public health needs and expanding education and economic opportunity in urban and rural areas. The Budget also includes a proposal to cancel $210 million in surplus balances from the agency’s National Service Trust Fund (NSTF), for a net total of $1.269 billion. AmeriCorps and VISTA are a key asset for hundreds of afterschool programs.

While the budget proposal serves as spending outline for the administration, Congress does not enact exactly what the president requests. The FY 2024 appropriations bills are scheduled to be completed before the end of this fiscal year on September 30, although realistically the budget may be finalized much later in the calendar year. This budget proposal and appropriations season comes at a time when voter support for afterschool and summer is at an all-time high, with voters across political affiliations, community types, racial and ethnic groups, and age groups in agreement that elected officials should invest more resources in programs. Now is a good time to reach out to Congress to thank them for supporting afterschool and summer in the American Rescue Plan and to emphasize the need to support 21st CCLC and afterschool and summer funding moving forward.

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