Education and Training: The President's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget in Brief
A cornerstone of the President's budget is an investment in education and training to ensure we have a well-prepared workforce now and in the future. These goals are supported with significant appropriations under the non-defense discretionary cap established in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, which is maintained in the President's budget. However, the President shows how he would do more in 2015 through a $56 billion "Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative" (the Initiative) – evenly split between defense and non-defense – that is fully paid for by closing tax loopholes and making specified mandatory spending cuts. The Initiative includes additional funds for education and training, including $750 million for programs in the Education Department, $800 million for education programs in the Department of Health and Human Services, $2.3 billion for training programs in the Department of Labor, and other unspecified funding. In addition to discretionary funding under the cap and through the Initiative, the budget also provides new mandatory spending for education and training programs that include early childhood investments, job training, training teachers on technology, and making college more affordable. Finally, the budget enhances tax breaks for college costs. The major initiatives are described below.
Early childhood investments ― The budget emphasizes investments in early learning.
- Preschool for All – The budget reprises last year's proposal for a $75-billion, ten-year early childhood investment, including a collaboration with states to provide universal pre-school to all 4-year-olds and $15 billion to expand a highly effective home-visiting program for at-risk children – fully paid for by raising tobacco taxes. The budget provides another $750 million in discretionary funding for 2015 to support states, with $250 million of that in the Initiative.
- Early Head Start and Head Start – The budget provides $8.9 billion for Head Start services, an increase of $270 million over the 2014 level, plus another $800 million for Early Head Start-Child Care partnerships through the Initiative.
K-12 education ―The budget maintains funding for its two largest state grant programs ($14.4 billion for Title I and $11.6 billion for IDEA) and targets new funding for K-12 reform in several areas.
- Race to the Top – Equity and Opportunity – The budget includes $300 million, plus additional unspecified funding through the Initiative, for new competitive grants to help close achievement gaps in the highest poverty schools.
- High school redesign – To help students graduate from high school ready to work or succeed in college, the budget provides $150 million, plus additional unspecified funding through the Initiative, for a new competitive grant program for educational partnerships with colleges, non-profits, and businesses.
Higher education ― The budget supports numerous new efforts to make college more affordable and to ensure students achieve value for their investment.
- College costs – It rewards states and colleges that lower costs and improve graduation rates, providing $4 billion in new mandatory spending to help states improve the performance of their public higher education systems.
- Student debt – The budget helps students lower their debt by offering income-based repayment plans to all student borrowers. It also helps students by expanding Pell grant eligibility and encouraging colleges to successfully enroll and graduate low- and moderate-income students through a new College Opportunity and Graduation Bonus program, funded with $7 billion in mandatory funding over ten years.
- Tax benefits – The budget maintains current tax benefits that help defray college costs, and provides a new tax break by excluding Pell grants from taxable income.
"Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative"
$250 Preschool development grants
* Funding level not specified
Teacher training ― The budget provides $5 billion in new mandatory funding to reach up to 1.6 million teachers with support and early-career training, $2.3 billion for state teacher training grants, and another $500 million in discretionary funding for 2015 (with $300 million of that in the Initiative) for a ConnectEDucators initiative to train 100,000 teachers to use technology effectively.
Job training ― The budget includes significant new funding to support job training.
- Dislocated workers and long-term unemployed – The budget provides $24.3 billion over ten years in new mandatory spending to provide services for displaced workers. It also includes $4 billion for competitive grants for Back to Work Partnerships to help the long-term unemployed.
- Jobs for youth – To help low-income youth, the budget provides $2.5 billion in mandatory spending to be spent over two years to support year-round and summer jobs.
- Community College Job-Driven Training Fund – As part of the Initiative, the budget provides $1.5 billion in 2015 as part of a new four-year, $6 billion plan for competitive grants for partnerships among community colleges, non-profits, and businesses to offer apprenticeships and new training programs in high-demand careers.
- Additional job training funds – The Initiative provides an additional $750 million for job training services for 2015, including making up for past cuts and aiding those encountering significant barriers to employment.