Education--and especially higher education for all students--is a critical area of focus in President Obama's proposed budget for next year, which he outlined for Congress in a 146-page plan on Feb. 26.

The full text and figures will be released in April, but a preliminary look at the budget outline reveals $500 million in education spending increases from 2009 to 2010, for a total of $46.7 billion in fiscal year 2010 discretionary grant spending through the federal Education Department.

Those figures don't include an additional $81.1 billion in education funding provided by the Recovery Act (the stimulus package) for FY 09 and


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