FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: LAURA CAPPS/MELISSA WAGONER MARCH 17,2005 (202) 224-2633 Washington, D.C. Today the Senate passed Senator Kennedy's education amendment to budget that would help middle class families pay for college and help all Americans by ensuring that our citizens are equipped for the jobs of the global economy. Republicans stood with Democrats to reject Bush's budget cuts to higher education and vocational training and supported an increase in the maximum of Pell Grants. Kennedy's amendment will strengthen math and science education, boost college loan funding, and restore cuts to critical programs such as GEAR UP, TRIO, and adult literacy training. "Today Democrat and Republicans worked together on behalf of America's students to turn this era of globalization into a new era of opportunity for all Americans. I am pleased by my amendment's passage and the signal it sends that this Senate can come together and restore Bush's education budget cuts so that students can compete in the global economy," Senator Kennedy said. The amendment takes into account the many challenges we face as we witness the massive transformation of our industries and our workforce in this global economy. Since 1975, we have fallen from 3rd to 15th in producing scientists and engineers and we rank only 29th in the industrialized world in math and science education. Within ten years 3.4 million jobs are at risk of being shipped overseas. Instead of bolstering the support our students need to compete in this economy, the President's budget seeks to do the opposite, such as eliminating the Perkins loan program that currently helps 675,00 students across the country afford college. Kennedy's $5.4 billion amendment was paid for by closure of corporate tax loopholes. A description of the education amendment is below: KENNEDY -- Higher Education/Job Training Budget Amendment Three Part Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a 21st Century Global Economy: (1) Giving high schools graduates the opportunity to attain a college degree and better compete in the global economy by: Securing resources for the Higher Education Student Aid Alliance proposal of a $1.5 billion increase in Pell Grant funding to pay for a $4,500 maximum grant today -- not in five years. (Note: 86,689 Massachusetts college students will get larger Pell Grants, if Kennedy's bipartisan amendment is agreed to by House Republicans as well.) Securing resources for the Higher Education Student Aid Alliance proposal of a $1.6 billion in Appropriations Committee discretionary authority to restore Bush budget eliminations of TRIO, GEAR UP, LEAP, Perkins loans, and provide for cost of college increases in work-study, graduate education, and SEOG scholarships. (2) Ensuring America is competitive in the global economy by maintaining strength in math, science, and technology by committing to the resources needed to: Provide new math, science, and special education teachers in high need schools a guarantee of up to $23,000 in student loan forgiveness for four years of teaching. Estimated impact: 57,000 new math, science, and special education teachers per year to get full federal student loan forgiveness. (3) Ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to work by restoring Bush budget cuts to job training/adult literacy ($975 million) and vocational education ($1.327 billion). Total Cost: Approximately $5.4 billion in discretionary spending intended for education paid for by closing $5.4 billion in corporate tax loopholes. ## For more information on the amendment, please see: http://kennedy.senate.gov/index_high.html Comments? How will this impact, if at all, distance learning? Can non-RA schools join in the mission and spirit of it?