Opinion: Trump’s Blueprint for Failing Our Nation’s Students

"The ink had hardly dried on Trump’s executive order promising continued support for HBCUs when he dropped his ‘skinny budget’ in March. Those paying attention to its fine print, i.e. 1.5 pages on education, noticed Trump’s true intentions for public education, especially Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)," Marybeth Gasman, director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, and William Casey Boland, research assistant at the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, write in an opinion article for The Hill.

"Trump proposes a 13 percent decline in funding to the U.S. Department of Education, with higher education programs comprising most of what will be sliced. Trump’s 'budget blueprint' is lawnmower budget cutting disguised as meticulous evidence-based policymaking. It eviscerates funding primarily to college-access programs on the grounds that these programs have not proven their effectiveness. 

Those standing to lose most – unsurprising given the winners and losers according to the current administration’s policies – are low-income students, first-generation students, and students of color.

Though the skinny budget is lean on details, cuts to specific programs are clear: 

  • TRIO: 10 percent cut
  • GEAR UP: cut by one-third (pending further “rigorous evaluation”)
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program: $2.4 billion cut (“scant evidence of impact”)
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program: eliminated (“less well-targeted way to deliver need-based aid than the Pell Grant program”)
  • Federal Work-Study: reduced (no amount details)
  • Pell Grant: maintained (but takes $3.9 billion from its $10.6 billion surplus)

As the quotes in the above list indicate, Trump’s proposal repeatedly alludes to the demonstrated ineffectiveness of these higher education access programs.

... More evaluations of specific programs are needed and budgeting considerations should be based on their results. In the absence of such rigorous assessments, scores of students will be affected by cuts to these programs."

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.

 

Publication Date: 4/21/2017


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