Student Life

Higher Education Targeted Under Trump Budget

Kathryn Knight Randolph

March 24, 2017

Higher Education Targeted Under Trump Budget
Trump proposes budgetary changes to financial aid and college preparedness programs.
President Trump recently released his budget proposal, and students and educators alike are worried about the cuts to higher education programs, like the Pell Grant. While former President Obama worked to increase the Pell Grant program and average award amount, President Trump thinks it is in the best interest of the program to decrease funding. According to USA Today College, the Trump Administration states that “slashing its funding safeguards its survival for the next decade.” Currently, the maximum Pell Grant award that a student can receive is $5,920. If the President’s budget proposal is approved, the program itself will see cuts of up to $3.9 billion, as reported by USA Today College. However, The Atlantic states that the cut comes from a $10.6 billion surplus in the program’s funding.
In addition to the Pell Grant, the proposed budget completely eliminates the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Similar to the Pell Grant, this grant is reserved for students who demonstrate the greatest financial need. These awards range in amount from $100 – $4,000, but they differ in that they are sent directly to the school rather than the student. Other programs that will see a decrease in funding according to Trump’s budget include:
  • Work study. The details are vague on how much funding would be cut from the federal work study program, but the "Trump Blueprint" stated that cuts would be “significant,” according to TIME.
  • TRIO. This program provides outreach and services to low-income or disadvantaged students through a variety of programs, like Upward Bound.
  • GEAR UP. A bulk of this program provides grants to institutions and organizations that work with students throughout middle and high school towards college preparedness. Funds are also used to provide college scholarships to low-income students.

For now, these cuts are just part of the “Trump Blueprint.” Congress will also draft budgets and pass the appropriation bills that will fund the government, which likely won’t happen until May. Essentially, the cuts to Education funding are hypothetical; however, should these cuts become a reality, low-income students will require more financial aid from the federal government or uncover more creative options for paying for school.

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