Is higher ed underpriced? New bill would slash education budget

Lower-income students weathered by this year's shaky FAFSA rollout and who would mostly benefit from financial assistance programs have the most to lose from this education budget proposal, stated NASFAA.

House Republicans are moving to slash federal education spending by $11 billion, endorsing a $72 billion package that falls $14.5 billion below the Biden administration’s budget request.

“The bill pushes back on the Biden Administration’s out-of-touch progressive policy agenda, preventing this White House from finalizing or implementing controversial rules or executive orders,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said during the markup session. “Each dollar is directed toward initiatives that truly help our communities, students and workforce.”

The FY 2025 bill, approved by an appropriations subcommittee, would retain the Pell Grant budget at its current level and increase special education funding by $30 million. However, it would cut funding in half for campus-based aid, such as the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program and Federal Work-Study. It would also slash the Student Aid Administration budget by 26%, over 44% below the Biden administration’s request.

Democrats raised dire alarms, accusing its GOP counterpart of abandoning college students.

“When we cut here, and we fail to build strong children, we pay a higher price for their dysfunction and their failure to be positive participants in our society,” said U.S. Rep Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Lower-income students strained by this year’s shaky FAFSA rollout and who would mostly benefit from financial assistance programs have the most to lose from this budget proposal, NASFAA warned in a press release.

“Now is the time to be investing in federal financial aid for college-bound students, and at a minimum maintaining funding for the office that administers the FAFSA application, not slashing it,” Karen McCarthy, NASFAA vice president of public policy and federal relations, said in a press release.

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Furthermore, any program “support[ing] organizations that seek to undermine the unity of our country and… that are duplicative or narrowly tailored to a small set of recipients” will be axed. For example, programs related to advancing racial equity and support, such as institution’s DEI initiatives, will not be eligible for federal funding, according to the bill.

“Republicans are in the midst of a full-scale attempt to eliminate public education,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) claimed in a statement.

Beyond the budget: Will Title IX be left unenforceable?

While Republican-led states try to block the Biden administration’s Title IX expansion, the appropriations subcommittee aims to settle the legal battle at the federal level, proposing that none of the funds provided to the Education Department could be used to enforce its regulations. The bill would bar transgender students from athletic programs that contradict their biological sex.

The GOP-led measure awaits approval from the full Appropriations Committee.

Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and first-generation journalism graduate from the University of Florida. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador and Brazil.

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