A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

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Secretary Riley's Statement on the
Education Department's
Fiscal Year 1997 Budget

Photo: Richard RileyRichard W. Riley, U.S. Secretary of Education

Soundclip from Secretary's Budget Press Conference [Text]
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Release of 1997 Budget

Washington, DC

Tuesday, March 19, 1996

I am pleased to announce today the President's 1997 education budget. This budget reflects the conviction of the American people that education is critical to our future prosperity. It also reinforces the President's commitment to protecting the federal investment in education. This budget is a good, strong statement that the President continues to make education one of his highest priorities.

Our budget will help schools and communities advance their own efforts to improve education. And it will help to make sure that every deserving student who wants a postsecondary education can get one.

The President's budget demonstrates that, by making hard choices, it is possible to protect and even increase the investment in education while still balancing the Federal budget. It is important to note that under both CBO and OMB scoring, the President has submitted a seven-year balanced budget. What we cannot do is close the budget deficit by creating an education deficit.

In describing our budget proposals, we are using 1995 as the point of comparison. Almost six months into the fiscal year, we do not yet have a 1996 appropriation. The American people have made clear they do not want to cut educational opportunities for our children. Yet some in the Congress have spent most of the past year in demographic denial about rising school enrollment and in varying stages of retreat from support for local schools and assistance to help students and their families pay for college.

Excluding the Pell Grant program, which is funded in 1997 partially by a surplus of funds from prior years, we are requesting $19.7 billion, an increase of $1.3 billion or 7.2 percent over 1995, for Department of Education discretionary programs. For Pell Grants, we are requesting the largest increase in the maximum grant in more than 20 years -- from $2,340 to $2,700. That constitutes a 15-percent increase.

This budget is the product of difficult choices we have made. We are proposing reductions of more than a billion dollars through both eliminating almost 40 programs and reductions in other areas. Adding these proposed savings to our requested overall increase will enable us to direct a total of more than $2 billion in additional funding to priorities that have the greatest impact on teaching and learning in the classroom.


The education initiatives proposed by President Clinton and passed two years ago with strong bipartisan support in the Congress have stimulated schools throughout America to start to raise standards of learning and improve the quality of education.

For Goals 2000 , our education improvement initiative, we are requesting $476 million, an increase of $114 million over 1995. This will help some 12,000 schools get the resources they need to improve themselves. For building partnerships to put in place School to Work Opportunities , our budget provides $200 million, up nearly $78 million from 1995. Combined with an identical amount in the Department of Labor budget, this level would help nearly all States to put in place their School-to-Work systems.

The President is requesting $250 million as a down payment on a new Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, with federal matching funds to stimulate State, local, and private sector investment so that our students will become technologically literate.

Our budget also will help parents and teachers start up public charter schools by providing $40 million for about 700 Charter Schools, up from just $6 million in 1995. This request reflects President Clinton's strong support for public school choice. Today the greatest obstacle to charter schools is the lack of start-up funds. This investment will help overcome that obstacle.

We must improve literacy and reading in America. Our largest assistance to students to help them read and learn math well is our Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies. We are requesting $7.2 billion, an increase of 7 percent over 1995, to help a total of 7 million students learn the basics. Safe and disciplined classrooms are a prerequisite for teaching and learning. The budget includes $540 million for Safe and Drug-Free Schools, a 16 percent increase. These funds will help end violence and drugs in more than 14,000 school districts.

If we are really serious about helping students learn to challenging standards, we need to make sure educators have the training they need to teach to high academic standards. Our budget provides $610 million for Eisenhower Professional Development State Grants. This request is $359 million more than in 1995, and would provide intensive training opportunities in core academic subjects to 750,000 teachers.

Our request of $2.6 billion for Special Education state grants will help maintain the seven percent Federal share of the costs of educating nearly 6 million children with disabilities. It supports our proposal to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which includes significant changes designed to improve education for these children.

We are requesting $290 million for Adult Education State Grants, a 15 percent increase over 1995. The budget also increases funding for Immigrant Education from $50 million to $100 million, to help communities meet the educational needs of growing numbers of immigrant children.


In my State of American Education address last month, I told high school students that if they did their share and worked hard, we would do our share and make sure they have the combination of grants, loans, and work-study opportunities they need to go to college. This budget will help us keep that promise.

Our 1997 student aid budget will make available $41.5 billion, up $6.3 billion, to serve 7.3 million students--about 300,000 more than in 1995.

President Clinton is proposing to strengthen the lifeline to college for working and poor students by increasing the Pell Grant maximum award. This will support Pell Grants to approximately 3.8 million students, or 155,000 more students than in 1995.

Our 1997 request makes good on the President's commitment to help many more young people work their way through college. In his State of the Union address, the President called for a five-year expansion of the Work-Study program to serve one million students. As the first step toward the President's goal, the budget includes $679 million, a 10 percent increase.

The budget provides $130 million for Presidential Honors Scholarships, a new initiative that would reward academic achievement by giving a one-year, $1,000 scholarship to every high school student who graduates in the top five percent of his or her class.

Excellence and equity go hand-in-hand. Our request of $500 million for the TRIO programs, an increase of $37 million, complements our student aid efforts. It will expand early intervention, outreach, and in-college support services for almost 700,000 disadvantaged students to be successful in college.

The budget also proposes a new Tuition Tax Deduction that would permit families to deduct from their taxable income up to $5,000 in postsecondary education expenses each year. The maximum deduction would grow to $10,000 by 1999.

These proposals will help American families and their children fulfill the dream of a college education.

I want to emphasize that the President remains fully committed to the Direct Student Loan program, which provides better service to students and schools at lower cost to taxpayers. The President's 1997 budget proposes changes that would save an additional $4.4 billion by 2002 by lowering costs for both the Direct Lending and the Federal Family Education Loans programs. We believe Congress ought to preserve the free competition between Direct Lending and guaranteed loans.


Our budget request invests in other critical areas, including $1.1 billion for a reauthorized Vocational Education State Grant program, $157 million for Bilingual Education, and $108 million for Research. Maintaining strong career and occupational training in our schools is very important. Having available the latest research and sharing what works is a key component of improvement.

We also are continuing our efforts to streamline the Department's management and improve service to our customers at lower cost to taxpayers. We are ahead of schedule in reaching the President's goal of reducing our staff by 12 percent by the year 2000.


The American people recognize that this is the Education Age. They are depending upon education as never before to help them and their families meet the difficult challenges of the global economy.

At this time when education is more important than ever and American schools will enroll more students than ever, the American people want to raise standards and lift student achievement. They also want to make sure government is especially careful about how we spend their tax dollars. This budget meets the critical need to invest responsibly in quality education.

It keeps us on the path to a balanced budget and keeps faith with our children. It is the right course for our students, our families, and our country.


Last update October 26,2001 (mjj)

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