Universities make headway in budget

While President George W. Bush’s recent budget proposal has focused on slashing the federal budget over the next 10 years, education programs affecting colleges and universities saw increases in funding, or at the very least, went untouched.The bulk of Bush’s proposed increases in education spending will go to elementary and secondary education programs, while college students will benefit from increases in financial aid and programs to promote success among disadvantaged students.

Under the new budget, Bush proposes spending an extra $1 billion on Pell Grants to provide disadvantaged students with financial assistance for college. The increase would boost the maximum award by $100 to $3,850, the highest amount ever awarded.

Federal student loans also get a $37 billion increases through two programs – the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) and the Federal Direct Student Loan (FDSL).While the House approved the Bush plan unchanged, the Senate voted last week to reduce his $1.6 trillion tax cut by more than one-quarter and add $250 billion to Pell Grants and other education programs over a 10-year period.

The American Council on Education was dissatisfied with the Bush’s recent budget proposal, but applauded the Senate’s budget proposal with the additional fundingOther post-secondary programs that typically service students with “demonstrated financial need” received no increase in funding.

The work study program, which provides grants to pay wages of students to pay college costs, and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program, which provides grant assistance of up to $4,000 for students, will keep the same amount of funding in Bush’s proposed budget.

The Perkins Loan, which provides loans to students with financial needs, also received no additional funding along with the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) program, which provides federal funds for state grant programs and provides community service programs to help financially needy students pay for college.

Other financial aid programs, however, were given a boost.

Outreach and tutoring programs, such as TRIO, which helps disadvantaged individuals enter and complete post-secondary education programs, will get a $50 million increase. Bush’s plan also calls for a $15 million increase in aid to colleges and universities that primarily serve black and Hispanic populations.