Trump budget plan cuts financial aid, boosts HBCUs

Trump is asking Congress for a $5.6 billion decrease (7.8%) in education spending
By: | February 11, 2020
President Donald Trump wants to eliminate financial aid programs for government workers and spend more money on HBCU programs, according to the education budget proposal he released this week. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)President Donald Trump wants to eliminate financial aid programs for government workers and spend more money on HBCU programs, according to the education budget proposal he released this week. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is proposing cuts to financial aid and boosts to HBCU funding boost under the Department of Education budget proposal he released this week.

Trump’s plan would eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which relieves federal, state, local, or tribal government workers and nonprofit employees of student loan debt after 10 years of student loan payments. Trump also wants to end the Federal Work Study program as well as Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants for low-income students because, the proposal says, it duplicates Pell Grants.

Meanwhile, various programs at HBCUs are in line for $749.2 million, a $44 million increase over last year, while minority-serving institutions could get an increase of $87.4 million (34%).

Overall, Trump is asking Congress for a $5.6 billion decrease (7.8%) in education spending in fiscal year 2021.


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“The spending cuts in the president’s proposed budget would devastate student access and success in postsecondary education, and should continue to be rejected outright by Congress, as has been done in previous years,” Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said in a statement. “But this year’s budget also puts forth several ideas worthy of further consideration.”

Among those ideas, Draeger said, is allowing colleges and universities to try to limit excessive student loan borrowing and require financial literacy training for students. In fact, Trump’s proposal would also set lifetime borrowing limits for certain student loans.

Draeger also commended proposals to extend Pell Grants to incarcerated students and streamline the operations of the Office of Federal Student Aid.

James Kvaal, president of The Institute for College Access & Success, said in a statement that Trump’s plan is ” is here today, gone tomorrow,” adding that Congress is already considering its own proposals to increase student aid.


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“The deep cuts in student aid overshadow worthwhile proposals, such as automatically enrolling distressed borrowers in income-driven repayment, modernizing student loan servicing, expanding Pell Grant eligibility to incarcerated students, and eliminating wasteful account maintenance fees for guaranty agencies,” Kvaal said.

Other education organizations criticized Trump’s larger federal spending plan for proposed cuts to research at the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

“This is a time to redouble investment in breakthrough medical research,” Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, said in a statement. “We also need to increase our investments in the basic research that lays a strong foundation for innovation, job creation, and long-term economic growth.”


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