$8 Billion In Pre-K Waste In Higher Ed Bill

Lindsey Burke /

The House is expected to vote today on the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, which would end the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, transferring student lending exclusively to the federal Direct Loan and Perkins Loan programs – effectively ending federally subsidized private lending. While the proposed legislation will drastically change the dynamics of the student loan industry, it will also expand the federal government’s role in early childhood education – to the tune of $8 billion.

The SAFRA establishes an $8 billion Early Learning Challenge Fund to provide grants to states to improve the quality of their early childhood education programs for children ages 0 to 5 – a key mission of the Obama administration. According to Education Daily:

Duncan said including $8 billion for early education in legislation with a core focus on higher education supports the administration’s ‘cradle to career’ agenda to ensure young children succeed and high school seniors have opportunities to at­tend college.

The $8 billion infusion – which will allocate $1 billion annually beginning in 2010 and ending in 2019, comes on top of the $25 billion spent each year by the federal government on early education and child care programs. (more…)