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Administration Proposes Expansion of Child Care, Student Loan Benefits

The White House is gearing up for Wednesday's big state-of-the-union speech and already a few proposals are dribbling out.

Last week, of course, the big news for K-12 education was the call to extend the Race to the Top program and increase its funding by $1.35 billion in fiscal year 2011.

Today, the White House's "Middle Class Task Force", spearheaded by Vice-President Joe Biden, has released some ideas on the "P" and "16" fronts in education.

The early childhood proposal calls for an expansion of the Child Care and Development Fund so that it can serve an additional 235,000 kids.

The college piece is student-loan related. Under the administration's plan, loan repayments would be capped at 10 percent of a borrower's income.

Here's how Biden explained the rationale behind the proposal at a meeting of the Middle Class Task Force today:

Our proposal ensures that Federal Student Loan payments for overburdened borrowers are never more than 10 percent of their income—a change like that makes a real difference for a kid just out of school. For someone who earns 30,000 bucks and owes $20,000 in loans, this would lower his or her monthly payment from $228 a month under the standard repayment plan to $115 a month. People who have to budget every day just to get by, they understand that's a big difference. That's a big difference.

So look for those proposals in the administration's fiscal year 2011 budget request, which is slated to be released Feb. 1.

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