The budget deal made at the eleventh hour late on Friday largely spared education, President Obama says. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that, on Friday, the President said in a speech that his top priorities, including education and medical research, have for the most part been spared. While the two sides agreed to cut $13 billion from funding for programs at the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services, the President stated that:
“We protected the investments we need to win the future.”
The White House blog says that funding for many educational and research programs remains in place:
We protected funding for critical programs that invest in science programs, our kids’ education, and critical health programs. We are maintaining current levels of Head Start enrollment, funding Race to the Top, including an early learning element, and have sufficient savings available to maintain the Pell Grant maximum award and the broad education reform agenda, including K-12 education. There is still robust investment to efficiently and effectively run Medicare and to implement the Affordable Care Act. Even though we will no longer double the funding of key research and development agencies, you will still see strong investments in National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation and the Office of Science.
Pell Grants, which provide need-based funding for low-income college students, will be maintained at the maximum at $5,550, the same level as this year. However, according to an Associated Press article, “reforms to the Pell Grant program” may still be on the horizon; the President has proposed ending year-round Pell Grants in his budget for fiscal year 2012. As the Chronicle notes, the spending bill means that the financial age packages colleges have prepared for students for the coming academic year can stay the same, so millions of students can go ahead with their plans for college next year.
Republicans had sought deep cuts to both science and education, passing a bill (HR 1) in February that would have cut the maximum Pell Grant by 15 percent, or $845 and eliminated dozens of education programs. Their bill would also have made significant cuts to the National Institutes of Health, lowered funding to 2008 levels and set the National Science Foundation’s budget $150-million below its 2010 level.
Photo by Enokson.