A cumulative funding shortfall in the Pell Grant program threatens the stability of the program and has limited increases in the maximum Pell award in the face of rising college costs. At the same time, the current structure of the student loan programs unfairly burdens taxpayers with program risks, resulting in excessive subsidies for lenders and other program participants.
The presidents 2006 budget includes a comprehensive set of proposals to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) that would increase financial assistance to students while improving the effectiveness of the Pell Grant and other student loan programs. In total, these proposals would generate more than $27 billion in benefits to students over the next 10 years, including the following:
- Providing greater access to disadvantaged students to pursue a high-quality education, which is a key objective of President Bushs FY2006 budget proposal. Major budget assistance components include strengthening the Pell Grant program by eliminating its budget shortfall while increasing annual disbursements to qualified students; Enhanced Pell Grant funding of $33 million intended to encourage students to take demanding high school courses; and increased student loan limits to some undergraduate, graduate and professional students;
- Making permanent the expanded loan forgiveness provisions of the Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act of 2004, which forgive up to $17,500 in student loans for highly qualified math, science and special education teachers serving low-income communities;
- Investing $50 million in a new presidential Math and Science Scholars Program in order to encourage students to enter the vital fields of mathematics and science; and
- Providing $125 million for Community College Access Grants through the Department of Education to expand dual enrollment programs designed to boost college enrollment and completion, especially among low-income students.
Those interested in learning more about President Bushs new education proposals can order a free copy of the booklet: No Child Left Behind: Expanding the Promise—Guide to President Bushs FY 2006 Education Agenda by:
- Calling the U.S. Department of Education's Publications Center (ED Pubs) toll-free at 1-877-4-ED-PUBS (1-877-433-7827); TTY/TDD: 1-877-576-7734; FAX: 1-301-470-1244;
- Writing to request a copy: ED Pubs, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398.
This guide is also available on the U.S. Department of Educations Web site at: http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget06/nclb/index.html
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