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Obama Proposes New Race to the Top, This Time, for Higher Ed

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Friday, January 27, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Building on the success of the K-12 Race to the Top program in encouraging states to change their education policies and systems, President Barack Obama proposed a second, $1 billion Race to the Top for America's colleges during a speech today at the University of Michigan.

Congress would need to approve the plan and, well, this is an election year.

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In addition to the higher-ed version of Race the Top, Obama also wants Congress to:

  • Change federal, school-based financial aid programs. Education Week explains: "Right now, that aid is distributed under a formula that rewards schools in part for longevity. Under the change, colleges that keep tuition low and graduate a relatively large share of Pell Grant-eligible students would be rewarded with a larger share of the grants."
  • Create a $55 million grant program for public and private colleges that want to develop or expand "innovative" initiatives. The White House says that could mean things like redesigning courses to use technology better and establishing programs to get high school graduates who aren't ready for college-level courses up to speed.


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