The surprising element on the budget is his commitment to education. His administration strives towards the goal of a higher college graduate rate in the world by 2020. Some of the ways the administration hopes to achieve this goal are through the following :
The Pell Grant current rate of $5,635 per year for post-secondary education will be maintained through the 2014 to 2015 award year.
Federal aid to colleges that do not assist in keeping tuition down will be stopped.
This mirrors the President’s comments during the State of the Union address. Those colleges that do help to keep tuition down will share in the proposed increase from one billion dollars a year to eight and a half billion a year.
Another goal involves creating an incentive for colleges to keep costs under control through a one billion dollar plan to help colleges meet that challenge.
Awarding a portion of a 55 million dollar award that will assist colleges in developing strategies boosting higher education attainment and student outcomes.
Providing a partially refundable tax credit worth up to ten thousand dollars over four years of college through the new American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).
Improving access to higher education to minority students.
Investing in community colleges with a two billion dollar program to help develop programs that will foster assistance toward local and regional labor market demands.
Expanding opportunities for math, science and engineering students which will provide assistance in K through 12, which also helps to prepare students for higher education in these fields.
Recruiting effective teachers by providing a grant to teachers to teach in high-need schools.
While all of this is great, the most striking is a development that caught me by surprise. During this summer, Stafford loans interest rates are poised to double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent.
This proposal intends to hold that interest rate of 3.4 percent for another year.
With the current state of the economy, raising the interest rate this summer will have a definite impact on student’s future earnings.
You may not be interested in politics, the budget or any of the things happening in D.C., but the interest rates on student loans should be enough to get you calling your senator and demanding he support this budget or at least this portion.
As students, we have a voice and it’s time for these voices to be heard when it comes to the future of our education and the dollars spent toward education.
If you don’t contact your senator, then don’t complain when your interest rate doubles over the summer.