The Obama administration today released an ambitious FY 2013 budget request with many new program proposals to augment already-proposed investments in education and workforce training, job creation, and infrastructure. The budget incorporates and builds upon previous plans such as the American Jobs Act that were designed to enable community colleges to help more Americans secure employment.
The budget includes landmark investments in community colleges, notably an $8 billion “Community College to Career” fund that builds on the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program to infuse more resources into job training programs at community colleges. It is designed to train 2 million workers with skills that lead directly to employment. The proposal includes bonus funds for especially effective programs, money for state and local governments to help them attract businesses and jobs to America, and money for entrepreneurship training programs. President Obama introduced this proposal in a speech today at Northern Virginia Community College.
The president also proposes to fund the Pell Grant program at a sufficient level to increase the maximum award to $5,635 in award year 2013–2014, an increase set in motion by the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2010. The budget also includes previously released proposals for a new $1 billion Race to the Top for higher education institutions and changes to the campus-based aid programs (Federal Work-Study, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and Perkins Loans) to reward institutions that keep their tuitions down and meet other national goals. It also includes a new $55.5 million “First in the World” fund that would help postsecondary institutions develop and expand innovative and effective strategies for improving college completion. Other key education programs, such as TRIO, GEAR UP, Strengthening Institutions, and programs for minority-serving institutions, would be level-funded. The budget also includes the administration’s proposal to reshape the Perkins career and technical education (CTE) programs.
These investments will require congressional approval, which will be challenging to obtain in the current budget climate and in an election year. Many of the proposals also would require new laws (authorizations) to be enacted in advance of this funding.
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