Statement from Dr. N. Joyce Payne, Founder of Thurgood Marshall College Fund on President Obama’s FY 2011 Budget Release

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February 2, 2010
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[NEW YORK]   Dr. Joyce Payne, Founder & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), reacted to the release today of the President’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget.  “TMCF wishes to applaud the President for several provisions in his budget.  The President’s Budget emphasizes some promising possibilities for the future of education in America especially as it impacts minority students in elementary and secondary schools, those bound for college and students in college today,” said Dr. Payne.  In particular, TMCF supports his proposals to:
  • Pell Grants: Make permanent the Recovery Act’s increase in the Pell Grant maximum award, and put these grants on a path to grow faster than inflation every year.
  • Repayment Plans: Strengthen income-based repayment plans for student loans by reducing monthly payments and shortening the repayment period so that overburdened borrowers will pay only 10 percent of their discretionary income in repayments and have their remaining debt forgiven after 20 years.
  • STEM:  $300 million in new grants to states to develop and implement curricula intended to improve teaching and learning in science and math aligned to new high standards is a crucial investment.
  • Innovation Fund: $150 million in the Investing in Innovation Fund, which are competitive grants for school districts, nonprofits, and other organizations to develop, validate, and scale promising teaching strategies to improve student learning in STEM. Thurgood Marshall College Fund stands ready to provide national leadership to increasing the number of underrepresented minority STEM professionals through our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) membership base. This priority is critical to the economic advancement of the country as school districts where many minorities live are located near HBCU campuses. It is our opinion that growth opportunities in STEM education, outreach and recruitment are vital to advancing the economic revitalization of local communities and states. HBCUs are critical to strengthening teachers and capabilities and increasing diversity in underrepresented STEM disciplines.
  • ESEA:  $28 billion – a $3 billion increase – for programs authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), plus up to $1 billion in additional funding if Congress successfully completes a fundamental overhaul of the law. Together, these measures would represent the largest funding increase for ESEA programs ever requested and we urge Congress to act.
  • School Turnaround Grants: $900 million for School Turnaround.  This is a step forward toward addressing funding gaps that often are the cause of under-performance especially in economically disadvantaged districts. 

“Of course, there are areas to improve education beyond this proposal, and we hope to have an impact on the President’s national progress in higher education overall as Congress reviews his priorities, especially to build capacity in crucial areas of focus on our public HBCU campuses,” said Dr. Payne.

TMCF encourages further progress for minority students nationally. Given the opportunity to address the FY11 budget cycle, the President’s support of higher education is desperately needed to ensure that students attending public HBCUs have greater access to a high quality education.”  Dr. Payne noted, “Securing jobs is the bottom-line for our graduates.  With the potential impact of government policy in higher education; our students need jobs, but jobs that will complement and broaden their skill-sets acquired in their higher education formal training.;