Includes $8 Billion for Community Colleges, Increased Funding for Education Department
President Obama visited Northern Virginia Community College today to discuss the education provisions in his FY 2013 budget proposal, including an $8 billion community college job training program and a substantial funding increase for the Education Department.
The president’s budget for the year beginning Oct. 1 totals $3.8 trillion, $69.8 billion of which is slated for the Education Department, an increase of $1.7 billion over FY 2012.
“The president’s budget emphasizes a critical point: supporting colleges and universities will help speed the nation’s economic recovery,” said Becky Timmons, assistant vice president for government relations at the American Council on Education. “We will be examining the budget closely in the coming days for a more specific picture.”
The proposed “Community College to Career Fund” would provide $8 billion over the next three years to community colleges and states to form partnerships with businesses to train an estimated 2 million workers from in-demand areas.
The president’s budget also would sustain the already-scheduled $85 increase in the maximum Pell Grant, which will raise the maximum award to $5,635 for the 2013-14 academic year. Other provisions would fund the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) proposals the president put forward last week as well as the higher education plans he laid out in his State of the Union address and in a follow-up speech at the University of Michigan last month.
Those plans include making permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides up to $10,000 for tuition over four years of college, and stopping the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans from doubling on July 1.
The president also wants to revise the eligibility formula for campus-based aid programs, which include Perkins Loans, Federal Work-Study and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. The Perkins Loan Program would expand to $8 billion of lending authority—up significantly from the current $1 billion—and the number of Federal Work-Study jobs would double, funded by a $150 million increase. This funding would be tied to demonstrated success in improving affordability.
The president is proposing a $1 billion “Race to the Top” competition for higher education to reward states that keep tuition down at public universities. The First in the World Fund would provide $55 million for grants to help public and private colleges and non-profit organizations to develop and test “breakthrough” strategies to boost productivity and scale up innovative and effective practices.
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