Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse scored $5 million to help college kids avoid some of the high costs of textbooks.
The money for an open-access textbooks pilot program was in an appropriations bill that passed the U.S. House floor Wednesday.
Neguse's office said he also helped secure $1 billion for a federal grant program that supports students with disabilities.
The $1 billion is included in the $13.36 billion Democrats hope to allocate the Individuals with Disabilities Act.
“Across the 2nd district, as I sit down with teachers, school board members and education advocates, the need for increased IDEA funding is a resounding request,” Neguse said in a statement. “Increased funding for IDEA benefits all students and ensures we are meeting our commitment to students with disabilities. An additional $1 billion funding for state grants will have a real and tangible impact on the students and educators in our district.”
The nearly $1 trillion omnibus bill funds several agencies; the Department of Education notably stands to gain almost $76 billion in new funding.
The spending plan has a long, difficult road ahead, however, after leaving the Democratic majority in the House. If the budget bill does pass the Republican-led Senate intact, President Trump appears unlikely to sign it.
U.S. Secretary of Education of Betsy DeVos told Congress that she favored more educational choices for families over more federal spending.
Besides Neguse's amendment, the education also includes $5 million for school-based health centers and $5 million to study the impact of gun violence on K-12 schools and higher education.
Neguse's $5 million Affordable College Textbooks Pilot program would provide grants to colleges and universities to expand free resources to help students avoid some out-of-pocket costs for textbooks.
“The cost of college textbooks should not be a barrier for any student to access higher education,” Neguse said in a statement. “Many students are already stretched thin financially to afford the education they need, and then must pay on average over $1,000 per year on textbooks to be well-equipped for their classes.
"Open access textbooks are helping students all across the country to ensure they have the resources they need to succeed and this federal funding will ensure that we continue to invest in open education resources to allow for more students to access this beneficial programs.”