By 1958 the Soviet threat grew more immediate; the Soviet Union had launched Sputnik in late 1957, suggesting the capability to launch offensive missiles at the United States. For the first time in the decade, the president recommended deferring plans for school construction in favor of support for the sciences. The National Defense Education Act provided $887 million over four years for education that could support national security goals—especially training scientists. The act contained ten titles designed to improve the nation's schools:
Title I prohibited federal control over curriculum, administration, or personnel;
Title II provided federal assistance for low-interest loans to college students ($295 million);
Title III provided financial assistance for science, mathematics, and modern foreign-language instruction ($300 million);
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