Obama Proposes 2.5% Increase in Spending on Education

Courtney Williams's picture
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

President Barack Obama asked for almost $70 billion in education spending, a 2.5 percent increase over last year, while he cut several other agencies’ requests.

Obama’s 2013 proposal includes a three-year, $8 billion plan to shore up career programs at community colleges that would be co-administered by the Education and Labor departments. The proposed budget would also keep interest rates on federal Stafford loans for college students from doubling to 6.8 percent, according to White House documents released today.

Obama is asking to expand education programs as Republican presidential candidates call to abolish or shrink the Education Department. The budget request, which includes cuts in the Defense, Agriculture and Justice departments, indicates that education and job training remain high on the list of the administration’s priorities.

“Education and lifelong learning will be critical for anyone trying to compete for the jobs of the future,” Obama said today in the budget documents. “That is why I will continue to make education a national mission.”

Obama’s request will keep the maximum level of annual Pell Grants for poor college students at $5,635 through the 2014-2015 academic year. Congressional Republicans had proposed cutting the maximum grant by 15 percent last year.

The community college plan designates funds in the 2013 budget to establish training courses for skilled careers, develop partnerships between the schools and employers, and help state and local governments attract businesses, the Education Department said.

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