President Clinton's Proposal To Make College Education More Affordable for Families

The President's State of the Union agenda includes a number of measures to make higher education more affordable for families, including:

  • Since 1993, the President has taken numerous steps to make college more affordable and accessible, including direct student loans, Pell Grant increases, as well as the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning tax credits, producing the biggest expansion in college opportunity since the GI Bill.
  • This year the President goes one step further and calls on Congress to pass his College Opportunity Tax Cut to expand on previous educational tax cuts and make college, graduate school, and job training more affordable for millions of families.
  • The President's proposal would give families the option of taking a tax deduction or a 28 percent tax credit on tuition and fees to pay for college and other higher education.
  • The proposal would cover up to $5,000 of educational expenses in 2001 and 2002 and rise to $10,000 of educational expenses from 2003 forward.
  • When fully phased in, this proposal would provide up to $2,800 in tax relief annually to help American families pay for college, graduate work, or courses taken to improve job skills.
  • Pell Grants. The Pell Grant program provides grants to economically disadvantaged young people to help pay the cost of a post-secondary education. The maximum Pell Grant in FY2000 is $3,300. The President's FY2001 budget increases the maximum to $3,500, more than 50 percent larger than the maximum grant in 1993, to make a college education more affordable for the nearly 4 million Pell Grant recipients. Funding for the Pell Grant program is increased by over $716 million, bringing the total Pell Grant appropriation to $8.356 billion.
  • SEOG. SEOG, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, provides campus-based grant assistance to needy undergraduate students. Generally, this program supplements the aid students receive from other sources, and leverages institutional aid by at least one dollar for every three federal dollars. The FY2001 budget provides $691 million for SEOG, a $60 million increase, the largest increase in 10 years. An estimated 1.2 million students (over 60,000 more than in 2000) will receive awards in 2001.
  • Work Study. Work Study provides students the opportunity to work their way through college. The FY 2000 budget achieved the goal of giving one million students the opportunity to participate in Work Study. The FY2001 budget includes $1.011 billion for Work Study, an increase of $77 million to continue this commitment to serve one million students.
  • College Completion Challenge Grants. The FY2001 budget creates a new initiative within the TRIO program called College Completion Challenge Grants (CCCG). Although college enrollment rates have risen, 37 percent of students that go on to post-secondary school drop out before they get a certificate or a degree [Source: U.S. Department of Education, The Condition of Education: 1999]. The problem is especially acute for minorities: 29 percent of African Americans and 31 percent of Hispanics drop out of college after less than one year, compared to 18 percent of whites. The CCCG program is designed to address this problem with a comprehensive approach including pre-freshman summer programs, support services and increased grant aid to students. This $35 million initiative will improve the chances of success for nearly 18,000 students.
  • Dual Degree Programs for Minority-Serving Institutions. The FY 2001 budget proposes a new program to increase opportunities for students at minority-serving institutions that offer four-year degrees. Students would receive two degrees within five years: one from a minority-serving institution, and one from a partner institution in a field in which minorities are underrepresented. This new $40 million program will serve an estimated 3,000 students.
3. Over $400 Million In Increases To Keep Young People On The Track To Success to higher education:
  • GEAR UP. GEAR UP is a nationwide initiative to encourage more disadvantaged young people to have high expectations, stay in school, study hard, and take the right courses to go to and succeed in college. GEAR UP is funded at $200 million in FY 2000, enough to provide services to over 750,000 students. The FY 2001 budget provides a 62.5% increase to $325 million, enough to provide services to 1.4 million students.
  • TRIO. The TRIO programs seek to motivate and prepare students to go to and stay in college. The FY 2001 budget provides $725 million for TRIO, an increase of $80 million to help provide assistance to over 760,000 students, 37,000 more than in 2000.
  • Youth Opportunity Grants and Youth Training Formula Grants. Youth Opportunity Grants are an initiative to provide comprehensive employment and training assistance to all out-of-school young people in high poverty areas. The program was passed as part of the bipartisan Workforce Investment Act and is a critical component of the New Markets Initiative. Funded at $250 million in FY 2000, this program would serve up to 50,000 of the most disadvantaged young people in central cities and rural communities across America. The President's FY2001 budget provides a 50 percent increase in funding to $375 million, enough to serve an additional 25,000 youth in high poverty areas. In addition, the FY2001 budget provides a $25 million increase (from $1.001 billion to $1.022), to the Youth Training Formula Grants, enough to provide job training and summer job opportunities to nearly 600,000 disadvantaged young people.
  • Youthbuild. The Youthbuild program, is targeted to 16-24 year old high school dropouts, and provides disadvantaged young adults with education and employment skills through rehabilitating and building housing for low-income and homeless people. The program also helps to expand the supply of housing in these categories. Funded at $42.5 million, the Youthbuild programs will provides opportunities for approximately 2,000 trainees in 2000. The FY2001 increases funding by 76% to $75 million, enough to serve approximately 3,330 trainees.
  • Job Corps. Job Corps is the nation's largest and most comprehensive residential education and job training program targeted at impoverished young people. The FY2001 budget increases Job Corps funding by $33 million, bringing the total Job Corps budget to $1.392 billion.


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