The President. Good afternoon. Please be seated. Before I take your questions, I would like to make a brief statement about the balanced budget that I will send to Congress next week.
This budget shows that we can meet two of our most crucial national priorities at the same time. It proves we can protect our children from a future burdened by reckless debt even as we give them the educational opportunities they need to make the most of the 21st century.
The budget finally moves us beyond the false choices that have held us back for too long and shows that we can cut our debt and invest in our children. The budget will help to renew our public schools. It will expand Head Start, help rebuild crumbling classrooms. It will double funding for public charter schools, giving parents more choice in how they educate their children. It will increase funding for Goals 2000 by 26 percent. And it will help our students to reach high standards and master the basics of reading, writing, math, and science.
It will also enable us to connect our schools and our libraries to the information superhighway. The budget more than doubles our investment in technology to hook our children up to computers and the Internet, and it increases by a third our investment in partnerships with teachers and industries to develop quality educational programming and technology. In short, the budget will connect our children to the best educational technology in the world.
It will also open the doors of college education wider than ever before. I'd like to take a minute now simply to outline our unprecedented commitment to higher education. With this budget, national support for college education in the year 2002 will be more than double what it was on the day I first took office, going from $24 billion to $58 billion per year. The budget will fully pay for a $1,500-a-year tuition tax credit, a HOPE scholarship for the first 2 years of college, to make the typical community college affordable for every American and to achieve our goal of making 2 years of college education as universal as a high school diploma is today.
It will also allow a working family to deduct up to $10,000 a year for taxes for the cost of any college tuition or job training. And with our special IRA for education, most parents will be able to save for college tuition without ever paying a penny in taxes.
In addition, my balanced budget takes further steps to widen the circle of educational opportunity. It provides a 25 percent increase in funding for Pell grants, the largest increase in the maximum scholarship in 20 years, so that over 4 million students will get up to $3,000 a year. We'll make 130,000 more students eligible for these scholarships, and we will open the scholarships to 218,000 older, low income Americans who want to go to college.
Second, under the balanced budget we will present, we will continue to reform our student loan programs to make college loans easier for students to get and easier to pay back. We will cut interest rates on loans to students while they're in school. We will cut loan fees for 4 million low and middle income students in half. Fees on 2 1/2 million more will be cut by 25 percent. Taken together, these two steps will save American families $2.6 billion over 5 years.
Third, we will increase funding again for work-study positions for students. That will take us, over about a 3-year period, from 700,000 work-study positions to 1 millio ...
[Display the complete paper]