President Obama's 2017 Budget Seeks to Expand Educational Opportunity for All Students

Archived Information

President Obama's 2017 Budget Seeks to Expand Educational Opportunity for All Students

February 9, 2016

The Obama Administration released a fiscal year 2017 budget today that makes crucial investments building on the Administration's work to advance educational equity and excellence, support teachers and school leaders, and promote college access, affordability and completion.

"The President's budget reflects the Administration's broader efforts to expand opportunity and ensure every child can achieve his or her full potential," said Acting Education Secretary John B. King Jr. "We have made tremendous progress with record high school graduation rates and more students of color going to college, but we have further to go to ensure that educational excellence is a reality for all students. This budget builds on the Administration's continued efforts to invest in education, from high-quality early learning through college."

The President's budget provides $69.4 billion in discretionary funding, a 2 percent increase over the 2016 appropriation. The budget also includes $139.7 billion in new mandatory funding over the next decade. The budget supports the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which embraces many of the reforms the Administration has long supported to improve outcomes for all students.

Key education investments in the President's budget:

Increasing Equity and Excellence

  • $15.4 billion for Title I Grants to school districts—the cornerstone of federal efforts to ensure that all students, including poor and minority students, students with disabilities, and English learners, graduate from high school prepared for college and careers
  • A commitment to early learning as a path to opportunity anchored by President Obama's Preschool for All proposal, which would provide mandatory funding for universal high-quality preschool programs for all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families, along with a total increase of $80 million for IDEA Preschool and IDEA Grants for Infants and Families, and an increase of $100 million to the Department of Health and Human Services for the jointly administered Preschool Development Grants program
  • $120 million for a new Stronger Together Grants program, which would encourage the development of innovative, ambitious plans to increase socioeconomic diversity through voluntary, community-supported strategies and expand existing efforts in states and communities
  • $4 billion in mandatory funding over three years for the new Computer Science for All program, which would support state efforts to expand access for all students to computer science instruction and programs of study. And $100 million in discretionary Computer Science for All Development Grants program for school districts, which would promote innovative strategies to provide high-quality instruction and other learning opportunities in computer science
  • $138 million for more vigorous enforcement of our nation's civil rights laws by the Department's Office for Civil Rights, which ensures equal access to education

Providing Support for Teachers and School Leaders

  • A new RESPECT: Best Job in the World program that would make a $1 billion mandatory investment to support a nationwide effort to attract and retain effective teachers in high-need schools by increasing compensation and paths for advancement, implementing teacher-led development opportunities to improve instruction, and creating working conditions and school climates conducive to student success
  • $125 million for the proposed Teacher and Principal Pathways program for grants to institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations, working closely with school districts, to create or expand high-quality pathways into the teaching profession, particularly into high-needs schools and high-need subjects such as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)
  • $10 million for Teach to Lead grants to build on the promising work at the Department's "Teach to Lead" gatherings with direct support to teachers that develop innovative reforms with the potential for wider impact on improving student outcomes

Expanding Access, Affordability, and Completion in Higher Education

  • Provide $61 billion in mandatory funding over the next decade for America's College Promise, which would create a new partnership with states to make two years of community college free for responsible students, letting students earn the first half of a bachelor's degree or an associate degree and earn skills needed in the workforce at no cost, and also provide grants to 4-year historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions to support two years of college at zero or reduced tuition for low-income students
  • Support and encourage on-time degree attainment through Pell for Accelerated Completion to provide year-round Pell availability to low-income students taking a full course load who have exhausted their award
  • Increase the Pell Grant by an additional $300 through the On-Track Pell Bonus for students taking at least 15 credit hours per semester in an academic year, the number of credits typically required for on-time completion
  • Reward colleges that successfully enroll and graduate a significant number of low-income students on time and encourage all institutions to improve their performance through the new College Opportunity and Graduation Bonus program
  • Continue to index the Pell Grant to inflation indefinitely beyond the 2017 award year with mandatory funding to protect and sustain its value for future generations
  • Expand postsecondary opportunity to incarcerated individuals eligible for release through the Second Chance Pell proposal that would restore their Pell eligibility with the goals of helping them get jobs, support their families, turn their lives around, and strengthen their communities

More information on the Department of Education's budget request can be found at

Under President Obama's leadership, we have turned our economy around and created 14 million jobs. Our unemployment rate is below 5 percent for the first time in almost eight years. Nearly 18 million people have gained health coverage as the Affordable Care Act has taken effect. And we have dramatically cut our deficits by almost three-quarters and set our nation on a more sustainable fiscal path.

Yet while it is important to take stock of our progress, this budget is not about looking back at the road we have traveled. It is about looking forward and making sure our economy works for everybody, not just those at the top. It is about choosing investments that not only make us stronger today, but also reflect the kind of country we aspire to be—the kind of country we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren. The budget makes critical investments in our domestic and national security priorities while adhering to the bipartisan budget agreement signed into law last fall, and it lifts sequestration in future years so that we continue to invest in our economic future and our national security. It also drives down deficits and maintains our fiscal progress through smart savings from health care, immigration, and tax reforms.

The budget shows that the President and the Administration remain focused on meeting our greatest challenges—including accelerating the pace of innovation to tackle climate change and find new treatments for devastating diseases; giving everyone a fair shot at opportunity and economic security; and advancing our national security and global leadership—not only for the year ahead, but for decades to come.