We were recently invited to a conference call with the Department of Education, where we discussed the President’s 2010 budget for their department. We were part of a small group asked to participate and were able to learn, firsthand, about the Administration’s plan to:
- Make Pell grant funding mandatory. The maximum for the 2010-11 academic year would be $5,550.
- Restructure and expand the Federal Perkins Loan Program to provide $6 billion in loans every year, from the current $1 billion level. Colleges and universities participating would increase from 1,800 to 4,400. The Department is looking for input on ways to revise the current formula.
- Create a $2.5 billion federal-state-local partnership to improve retention and graduation rates, particularly for low-income college students. This will include funds for a rigorous research component. Funds are for first degrees after high school, which could be an Associates’ degree or Bachelor’s degree.
- Restructure the Federal Family Education Loans, because “it is not working well’ and make all new loans through the direct lending program (Direct Loans).