The Administration's Fiscal Year 2006 Postsecondary Education Budget Proposals
The success of No Child Left Behind, as well as the promise of the president's High School Initiative, demands changes in federal postsecondary student financial assistance programs to help ensure that those students who successfully complete a challenging high school education can afford to go to college or other postsecondary training.
President Bush already has substantially increased the amount of grant and loan assistance available to postsecondary students and their families. For example, over one million more low-income college and other postsecondary students are receiving Pell Grants this year than when the president first took office; and under the 2006 request, funding for the Pell Grant program will have grown by $4.9 billion, or 56 percent, since FY 2001. One major component of expanded access to Pell Grant funding is the use of a combination of mandatory and discretionary funds that would increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $100 annually over the next five years, from $4,050 to $4,550, while retiring the $4.3 billion Pell Grant shortfall accumulated from fiscal years 2002 to 2005.
Similarly, overall postsecondary student financial aid would increase from $48 billion in FY 2001 to $78 billion in FY 2006, with the number of recipients rising from 7.7 million to more than 10 million.
|Pell Grants make it possible for people to go to school who otherwise won't go to school. I think that is money really well spent.|
- President George W. Bush
However, a cumulative funding shortfall in the Pell Grant program threatens the stability of the program while limiting increases in the maximum Pell award needed to maintain the purchasing power of the Pell Grant 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 president's 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 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 is a major objective of President Bush's FY 2006 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. (See www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/
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 (See www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/
budget06/summary/edlite-section2d.html for more information on the Administration's fiscal year 2006 budget for the Federal student financial aid programs.)
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. (See www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/
budget06/summary/edlite-section2e.html for more information on the Administration's fiscal year 2006 budget for the Federal higher education programs.)
For information on assessments of our programs see www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/
Additional information on the student financial aid policies included in the FY 2006 President’s Budget, including a table that shows the budget impact, on outlays, of student aid-related Higher Education Act reauthorization proposals included in the FY 2006 President's Budget can be found at www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/