Obama and the Education Balance Sheet

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On Wednesday, in the aftermath of sweeping Republican victories in the House, President Obama said that education and research will continue to be high priorities for his administration. Well, at least he’ll try. At his “solemn and contrite” press conference he explained,

We already had a big deficit that I inherited, and that has been made worse because of the recession. As we bring it down, I want to make sure that we’re not cutting into education that is going to help define whether or not we can compete around the world. I don’t think we should be cutting back on research and development, because if we can develop new technologies in areas like clean energy, that could make all the difference in terms of job creation here at home.

Meanwhile, over at the New America Foundation, Stephen Burd points out that many Republicans campaigned on a promise to reduce government spending. “In terms of higher education policy, are they willing to face the political fallout that would inevitably accompany any plan to roll back the maximum Pell Grant award?” Burd asks. Well they might.

In order to keep Pell Grant spending at its current level, $17.5 billion, Congress would have to reduce the maximum award by almost $900 a student. That would save the government some money, but it probably won’t be a good way to “help define whether or not we can compete around the world.” [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer