WASHINGTON, DC -- Funding for Carol M. White Physical Education for Progress (PEP) grants will increase almost $3 million, according to the fiscal year 2008 U.S. Department of Education budget.

The specific amount in the FY 2008 budget for PEP is $75,655,000, an increase from the $72,674,000 FY 2007 appropriated amount. However, despite the increase, there was a reduction for PEP from the beginning appropriated amount of $77 million for FY 2008, says Deborah Rudy of the Department of Education. There was an across-the-board reduction taken against most programs in the consolidated appropriations bill, Rudy adds.

The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) reported on its Web site that President Bush has attempted to eliminate the PEP program as part of proposed Department of Education budget cuts, but that Congress, for the third consecutive year, rebuked those efforts.

The PEP program provides grants to initiate, expand and improve physical education programs for K-12 students in order to help them make progress toward meeting state standards for physical education. Funds may be used to provide equipment and support to enable students to participate actively in physical education activities. Funds also may support staff and teacher training and education.

An application notice for new grants under the PEP program was published today on the Web site http://www.ed.gov/programs/whitephysed/applicant.html. The application deadline is March 24.