Obama's 2014 Budget: What Does it Mean for Education?

Last week President Obama unveiled his 2014 budget plan, which (not surprisingly) was met with mixed reactions.

Whether you are currently pursuing a college degree or have kids about to start preschool, you will want to listen up, because, if approved, Obama's 2014 budget calls for a fairly drastic spending increase to education, with most of that funding going towards creating new programs and competitive grants.

In total, Obama's administration wants $71.2 billion in flexible funding for education? notably, a $3.1 billion increase from last year. With that kind of money being invested into our education system, let's take a step back to break down the key takeaways in Obama's plan:

The Preschool Expansion Initiative

This part of the program boasts a catchy title "Preschool for All," and will cost the government a little over $77 billion over the next decade to implement. Obama's preschool initiative seeks to fund early education for children from (basically) birth up to the age of 5, mostly focusing on providing high-quality education for low-income infants and toddlers. He's also wants to increase funding for the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships.

Charter School Expansion

Obama's also looking to up the ante on providing money for charter schools. He asked Congress for $295 million to help develop specific schools identified via the Education Department.

"Race to the Top" Competition

Of interest to current high school students is Obama's proposal for the $1 billion "Race to the Top" competition, focused on making college costs more manageable. Obama sees this competition as a fun attempt at making college more affordable for the average American.

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Increasing Competitive Grants

Perhaps the most important takeaway from Obama's 2014 budget for current college students is his plan to increase the number of competitive grants available to us. Essentially a "Race to the Top" program for college students is in the works, aiming to award about $1 billion in grants to those states focused on making attending a university more reasonably priced.

Increase Support of Pell Grant Funding

Additionally, Obama's budget is focused on funding more than 9 million Pell Grants for America's students in the 2014-15 school year. He asked Congress to increase the maximum Pell Grant by about $140 (to $5,785).

Job-training Programs at Community Colleges

What most are calling a more symbolic (if anything) part of Obama's budget, he also proposed an $8 billion investment in job-training programs at community colleges across the nation.

Click here to read Obama's full 2014 Budget Proposal.

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