Education Budget Looks to Eliminate

Education Budget Looks to Eliminate
Several College-Access Programs

By Charles Dervarics

President Bush is proposing a tight 2007 federal education budget that would freeze the maximum Pell Grant and Black college aid amounts while eliminating several college-access programs for low-income students.

Programs slated for elimination: Upward Bound, currently funded at $311 million; the $145-million Talent Search program; and GEAR UP, an early college awareness program that has received $303 million this year.

Support for historically Black colleges and graduate institutions would receive $296 million, the same as 2006 funding. Of that amount, $58 million would go to HBCU graduate institutions.

The budget released earlier this month also would freeze funding for Hispanic-serving colleges and universities at $95 million and leave funding for tribal colleges unchanged at $24 million next year.

The maximum Pell Grant would remain at $4,050, but the administration is proposing changes in the program’s operation. Year-round Pell Grants would be available at many two- and four-year colleges so students could accelerate their education.

However, the proposal also would limit Pell aid to 16 semesters to promote faster completion of a college degree.

In a conference call with reporters, U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings noted that the government’s overall Pell budget would increase by about $400 million, even though the maximum grant would remain the same. As a result, another 59,000 students are likely to receive grants.

Elsewhere, the budget would freeze work/study funding at $980 million and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants at $770 million. As in past years, the Bush administration would terminate funding Perkins Loans and the LEAP program, a financial aid incentive program for states. These programs are funded at $65 million each.

Spellings also touted the administration’s High School Reform Initiative, which would take money from vocational education and other programs to extend provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act to high schools. Congress rejected a similar initiative last year.



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