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New Secretary of Education Promotes Budget Priorities

March 21, 2016

Fresh off his confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Education, John B. King Jr. last week embarked on a nationwide tour to highlight education initiatives that are among his priorities for the next year.

The College Opportunity Across America Tour included stops at Georgia State University and Alabama A&M University, where King covered topics including college completion and historically black colleges and universities’ impact on STEM. The stops were intended to highlight “the Department’s continued focus on the most important outcome: completing a quality degree at a reasonable cost,” according to a media advisory from the department about the tour.

King was confirmed as secretary of education by the Senate March 14 with a 49-40 vote. Previously New York State’s education commissioner, he had been serving as acting secretary of education since October, when then-Secretary Arne Duncan resigned. King will hold the position through President Obama’s final year in office–during which ED will “work to advance key budget proposals, including America’s College Promise and to solidify lasting reforms, including Gainful Employment, State Authorization and other important program integrity regulation now in place,” according to the advisory.

The president’s education budget proposal for FY17 also previews key administration goals, including increases to Pell Grant awards and campus-based aid programs. In a recent letter to lawmakers, NACUBO and 21 other higher education associations showed support for many of those efforts, stating, “We commend the administration for its Pell Bonus and Second Chance Pell proposals and encourage Congress to examine ways to address the goals it has identified.”

The letter calls for an maximum Pell Grant award of $5,935 for academic year 2017-18 and outlines specific FY17 appropriations requests for other federal financial aid programs, institutional support, career and technical education programs, and federal research priorities.


Liz Clark
Senior Director, Federal Affairs