Obama Pushes Higher Ed Competitive Grants, FAFSA Completion

DC Shuttle …

Education budget request. President Obama’s budget proposal contained many pieces on education. The education portion of the budget request included $300 million in funding for Race to the Top for educational equity. The president called for funding for high-quality preschool. For higher education, the president requested $4 billion in new mandatory spending for competitive grants for states to encourage performance-based funding. The plan is similar to Race to the Top, but for higher education and the administration has proposed it before. Workforce training would get additional funding, including new incentive grants. Some additional changes would affect millions of students and parents through the tax code. In preparation for the release of the president’s budget, the Department of Education posted a “need-to-know” report on the education portions of the budget.

President calls for more students to submit FAFSA. President Obama announced a new effort to get more students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  He also called for sharing data so that districts can track students and see who hasn’t yet filled out the form. The nationwide campaign builds on a pilot program in 2010, as well as a spreadsheet that shows the number of students who’ve completed the FAFSA at each high school nationally. The Department of Education gave further details in a blog post.

House Budget Committee report criticizes Head Start. The House Budget Committee released a report, The War on Poverty, which assesses the success of programs such as Head Start, Title I, the Child Care Development Block Grant and the Pell Grant program. The report was critical of the Head Start program, just one day before the president proposed additional funding for the program.

Recession led to low employment for 2008 graduates. The Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics released a report which showed that 2008 graduates had an unemployment rate of 9%, roughly twice as likely to be unemployed after a year than were their peers who graduated in 1993 and 2000.

FCC asks for comment on E-Rate improvements. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a public notice asking how it should best update the E-Rate program which is intended to deliver broadband Internet to 99% of the nation’s students.

SAT changes. The College Board announced significant changed to the SAT to take effect in 2016. The changes include making the writing section optional, and basing writing and reading sections on text passages.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of March 10, 2014.

Founded in 1925, the New England Council is a nonpartisan alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the New England region. The Council’s mission is to identify and support federal public policies and articulate the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.



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