2013 federal budget invests in college opportunity

President Barack Obama's proposal for the 2013 budget places a large amount of focus on expanding college opportunity, investing billions in new programs to encourage affordability, diversity, success-rates and effective teaching.

"President Obama's 2013 budget puts his recent focus on education into action, and is a signal to college and university leaders across the country that now is the time to engage in rebuilding the ways we teach and learn in America," said State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher in a recent news release.

Zimpher also commented on the president's "commitment to keeping college affordable," noting that the SUNY rational tuition policy is a "model for the nation."

"As the largest comprehensive system of higher education in America, SUNY is primed to be a national leader as public higher education takes center stage," said Zimpher. "I look forward to working with the president and the New York State Congressional Delegation to return educational greatness to America's schools and reinvent America's workforce for today's – and tomorrow's – economy."

Expand Access to College Through Pell Grants

Maintain the Pell Grant at $5,635 through 2014-2015, a $900 increase from 2008. This will ensure postsecondary education for up to 10 million students.

Reform Federal Campus-Based Aid Programs

Give more aid to colleges and universities that keep tuition affordable, provide good value, help needy students and increase funding for work-study jobs while shifting aid away from schools that fail to do so.

Create a Race to the Top: College Affordability and Completion

A $1 billion investment will challenge states to increase the affordability of higher education.

Launch a First in the World Competition to Model Innovation and Quality on College Campuses

$55 million will be invested in a First in the World competition, supporting colleges and nonprofit organizations to develop a strategy to increase student success in higher education.

Help Students and Their Families Pay for College

Make the American Opportunity Tax Credit, a partially refundable tax credit, permanent.

Suspend an Increase in Student Loan Interest Rates

Suspend the scheduled increase of subsidized Stafford loans, which are set to increase this summer from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. 

Bring Competition and New Approaches to Job Training

Continue investing in job training and improve access to services for workers and those seeking jobs by investing $125 million in a Workforce Innovation Fund which would encourage states to identify better ways to deliver services, break down program silos and pay providers for success. Also included is a $12.5 billion Pathways Back to Work Fund which would make it easier for workers to gain new skills and maintain long-term employment.

Improve Access to Higher Education for Students from Minority Backgrounds

While maintaining funding for Department of Education programs, the budget invests an extra $55 million to aid minority-serving institutions.