The Trump budget rejects low-income students
By The Lumberjack Editorial Board
The 2018 Trump administration budget is an utter catastrophe for college students. If you thought a 5 percent tuition fee increase was worrisome, well, look out. The cuts to the Department of Education alone will have you rethinking the decision to attend college altogether.
While the White House is holding up the promise to increase defense funding, the budget slashes programs that help college students. When you analyze the full impact of these cuts, things aren’t looking pretty for the low-income students.
The budget slashes funds for the Federal Pell Grant, also known as FAFSA, by $3.9 billion. FASFA is the largest federal grant program according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The FAFSA program helps students and families making less than $40,000 a year. Because the FAFSA is a grant, students don’t have to repay the money or incur student loan debt.
Students count on the FAFSA to not only help with educational costs but also for their livelihood. For some, the Pell grant can mean anything from affording school supplies or food, to housing. Without the aid of FAFSA low-income students aren’t left with many options to fund their education and seek a better life.
If you were hoping to find help through the other programs within the educational system, unfortunately, the cuts don’t stop with FAFSA. In the Trump budget, the Department of Education stands to lose a total of $9 billion. The reductions concentrate on all of the programs intended to support low-income students. The budget eliminates the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program – another federally funded grant programs meant to help low-income students. The budget also reduces funding for the Federal Work-Study Program allocation and various college scholarship programs for both STEM and humanities majors. These aren’t even the cuts that are going to cut funding to primary education.
College students with children are most impacted by the proposed cuts to federally funded after-school programs. The cut eliminates $1.2 billion from the budget allotted to the 21st century Community Learning Centers program which is responsible for before-and-after school programs.
On top of all of these cuts, the passing will mean that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will succeed in getting taxpayers to fund charter schools and private school vouchers. The budget adds a $168 million for charter schools and puts away $250 million for “new private school choice program.”
If this Trump budget proposal is an initial outline for what could be, students and future generations should worry about the affordability of higher education. Without education, the low-income are left to rot in the bottom of the barrel. America was and is made great by the ability for those without money to become educated and seek the same life as those born into privilege. Taking away the only way many low-income students are able to attain education is paramount to erasing the American dream and replacing it with chains.