ERIC Number: EJ851057
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: N/A
Hartle, Terry W.
New England Journal of Higher Education, v24 n1 p29-30 Sum 2009
In its first hundred days, the Obama administration demonstrated a strong commitment to expanding access to higher education. The economic stimulus package, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), increased funding for the Pell Grant program and over the next two years, the maximum award will grow to $5,550 in 2010-2011--the largest two-year dollar increase in the program's 35-year history. In addition, the president's FY 2010 budget plan calls for making the Pell Grant an entitlement, revitalizing and expanding the Perkins Loan program, simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and creating a new $2.5 billion program to improve "graduation and success" in higher education. But the administration's most far-reaching higher education proposal came in the president's Feb. 24 speech to Congress in which he committed the U.S. to be first in the world in the percentage of adults with postsecondary education by the year 2020. This is an extraordinarily ambitious goal. Achieving the president's goal would be extraordinarily beneficial to the nation's long-term economic growth and social progress. But there is no way people will do it without a broad-based national effort. The author contends that at a minimum, reaching the goal will require five things: (1) A need for better-prepared high school graduates; (2) Students and families need better information about postsecondary education opportunities; (3) Adequate financial aid for low- and middle-income families is absolutely critical; (4) State governments need to meet their responsibilities; and (5) Sharply increasing the number of college graduates will require a renewed commitment to student graduation and success by colleges and universities. The president's goal will require a long-term effort by multiple actors, particularly higher education institutions themselves. It remains to be seen if America and its colleges and universities have the energy, wisdom and commitment to achieve it.
Descriptors: Economic Progress, College Bound Students, Low Income Groups, Graduation Rate, High School Graduates, College Graduates, Student Financial Aid, Grants, Presidents, Educational Improvement, Postsecondary Education, Federal Legislation, Accountability, Tax Credits, Tuition, Student Costs, Access to Education, Educational Finance, Student Loan Programs, Paying for College
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.nebhe.org/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: G I Bill; No Child Left Behind Act 2001; Pell Grant Program; Perkins Loan Program