Monday, February 14, 2011

Obama's Education Budget 2011: PELL GRANTS

New House Republicans will try to cut PELL GRANT by 15%: Slashing almost $1,000 in aid for low income students. Today, with ever increasing student cost the idea of cutting Pell Grants seems to have the air of stupid group think. What is the real cost of slashing funds, making education out of reach for the poor? A depression or never ending recession is assured when we scrap education in the name of austerity. Our nations biggest boom came about with the introduction of the GI Bill that ensured access by all returning GI's to institutes of higher learning.

The FY 2011 budget requests $34.9 billion in mandatory funds for Pell Grants to establish a projected Pell Grant maximum of $5,710 for the 2011-12 academic year.  The Budget proposes to index the maximum grant beginning in 2011 to grow faster than inflation in future years, at a rate equal to the consumer price index plus 1 percentage point.  The Budget also proposes to make funding for the Pell Grant program mandatory, rather than discretionary, and indefinite, to eliminate uncertainty and end the practice of ―backfilling‖ billions of dollars in Pell shortfalls. As the Administration supports the current effort to streamline the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) underway in Congress, the Budget also provides for simplification, including the removal of several data elements pertaining to assets and additional types of income. The combined effect of these changes would increase Pell Grant funding by $22.8 billion through FY 2015. To administer this proposal, the Budget would create a new mandatory appropriation account for Pell Grants in 2010, moving funding for this program out of the Student Financial Assistance account. The Budget presentation re-bases the $17.5 billion FY 2010 appropriation as mandatory and assumes the availability of an additional $6.5 billion in mandatory funding through permanent indefinite authority. The FY 2011 request of $34.9 billion supports all Pell Grant program costs for the 2011-2012 award year, representing a $2.5 billion increase over program costs for 2010-2011. The FY 2011 budget request for this program is best understood in the context of the Administration’s proposals for the student aid programs as a whole. Accordingly, program-specific funding information and policy proposals are discussed in the Student Aid

Education Budget Highlights:
Provides a $3 billion increase in K-12 education programs, plus up to $1 billion in additional funding if Congress successfully completes a fundamental overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  Together, these measures would represent the largest funding increase for ESEA programs ever requested.
Supports needed reforms of Federal K-12 programs to promote college- and careerreadiness, enhance teacher and principal effectiveness, deliver a rigorous and complete education, improve educational options, and prepare our children for the jobs of the future.
Provides $1.35 billion to expand Race to the Top for school districts as well as States to carry out systemic reform, and $500 million to continue the Investing in Innovation program to test, validate, and scales up effective approaches to student learning.
Increases the number, and improves the distribution of, effective teachers and principals, by investing $950 million in competitive grants to States and school districts that build comprehensive systems to recruit, prepare, retain, and reward effective teachers and principals.
Invests $210 million in Promise Neighborhoods, an initiative that integrates school reform with strong family supports and effective community services across an entire neighborhood, so that youth successfully complete high school and continue on to college.
Expands educational options and increases access to high-quality schools by investing $490 million to grow effective charter schools and other effective, autonomous public schools that achieve results, develop new approaches, and give parents more choices.
Consolidates 38 K-12 programs into 11 new programs that emphasize competitive funding, accountability for outcomes and flexibility in approaches, and use of evidence to get results.
Supports the next generation of scientists and engineers by helping States develop and implement math and science instructional practices that are aligned to rigorous college- and career-ready standards and by supporting districts and nonprofit organizations that develop, implement, and evaluate promising and effective programs.
Increases aid for needy students, reforms Federal student aid programs, and simplifies the financial aid application process.
Funds new reforms across the Nation’s early learning programs for children birth through age five, so they’re prepared to enter kindergarten ready for success.
Creates a Workforce Innovation Partnership with the Department of Labor to test and validate effective strategies to improve services under the Workforce Investment Act.

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