Last week, Acting Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. testified on the U.S Department of Education’s 2017 budget request before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.
Before the U.S. Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Secretary King described highlights of the Department’s $69.4 billion budget request, an increase of $1.3 billion over 2016.
Focusing on three priorities: the advancement of equity and excellence for students, expansion of support for teachers and school leaders, and the improvement of access, affordability, and student outcomes in higher education, Secretary King said:
“Higher education is one of the clearest paths to the middle class. At a time when jobs can go anywhere in the world, skills and education will determine success for individuals and for nations,” King said in his written testimony. “We must shift incentives at every level to focus on student success, not just on access.”
The Committee expressed support for some proposals, such as expansion of and improvement to the Pell Grant program, as well as concern regarding the Department’s handling contracted student loan servicers. U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking member of the subcommittee, asked Secretary King how the Department plans to address issues of college access and affordability through its budget request.