Access to college should not depend on financial success. Higher education is increasingly becoming a need, not an option, in the 21st century. Nearly two-thirds of the fastest-growing jobs will require a higher education. And workers must be able to refine and broaden their skills on their timetable, not the government's. President Bush's 2006 proposed budget includes:
- A $1.3 billion increase for the Pell Grant program, including both discretionary and mandatory funding, for a total of $13.7 billion, to increase the maximum award to $4,150 and provide grants to 5.5 million low-income postsecondary students in FY 2006.
- Increase the maximum Pell award by $100 annually over the next five years, from $4,050 to $4,550. Annual increases would be funded through mandatory savings in other student aid programs.
- $4.3 billion in mandatory funding to retire the Pell Grant shortfall accumulated from 2002 to 2005, restoring the program to firm financial footing and ensuring that all eligible students receive awards.
- $33 million for Enhanced Pell Grants for State Scholars to encourage States to offer and students to take demanding high school courses by increasing Pell Grants by up to $1,000 for an estimated 36,000 first-year, full-time students who complete a rigorous State Scholars program of study in high school.
- $50 million for a new Presidential Math-Science Scholars program, under which the Department of Education would enter into a public-private partnership to award $100 million annually in grants to low-income math and science students. Approximately 20,000 low-income students who receive Pell Grants would receive these separate, additional awards of $5,000 each.
- $125 million for a new Community College Access program, which would provide incentives to States and partnerships to improve access to a college education, particularly for low-income and minority students, through "dual-enrollment" programs offering both high school and postsecondary credit to high school students who take college-level courses.
- $418.5 million for the Aid for Institutional Development (HEA Title III) programs to maintain support for institutions that help close achievement and attainment gaps between minority students and their non-minority peers, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Historically Black Graduate Institutions.
- $95.9 million for Developing Hispanic-serving Institutions to maintain support for postsecondary education institutions that serve large percentages of Hispanic students. This program is a key part of the Administration's effort to increase academic achievement, high school graduation, postsecondary participation, and life-long learning among Hispanic Americans.
- $106.8 million for the International Education and Foreign Language Studies (IEFLS) programs to help meet the Nation's security and economic needs through the development of expertise in foreign languages and area and international studies. The increased complexity of the post-Cold War world, the events surrounding the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, and the war on terrorism underscore the importance of maintaining and expanding American understanding of other peoples and their languages.
- $11 million for the new Loans for Short-Term Training program, jointly administered by the Departments of Education and Labor, to help dislocated, unemployed, transitioning, or older workers and students. This market-oriented program, capped at $284 million in loans to 377,000 students in 2006, will allow participants to acquire or upgrade specific job-related skills through short-term training programs not currently eligible for Federal student aid.
NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.
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Last Modified: 08/17/2007