Trump's Budget Blueprint Pinches Pennies For Education
This morning President Trump released a proposed 2018 budget that calls for a $9 billion, or 13.5 percent, cut for the U.S. Department of Education.
The document released today is only an initial sketch — a proposal, really — one that must compete with Congress's own ideas. It indicates how Trump plans to make good on his pledge to dramatically reduce parts of the federal government while increasing military spending.
And, it provides some direction on how the administration plans to promote school choice, the president's signature education issue.
As we've noted before, federal education spending provides a small fraction of the resources spent on public schools and colleges in the U.S. For example, the Education Department's entire budget for 2017 was $69.4 billion. Meanwhile, the budget for the New York City public schools — the nation's largest district — was $29.2 billion, of which $1.7 billion came from the federal government.
Still, the blueprint gives the clearest indication to date of where schools and colleges fall on the priority list for this administration, and its plans for education policy going forward. Here's our breakdown.
For the Pell Grant, the federal government's main income-based college aid program, the proposal calls for "level funding." But, that "level" technically includes "a cancellation of $3.9 billion from unobligated carryover funding." So, while Pell Grant funding would not go down, that $3.9 billion would not be available.
Pell spending has actually been on a downward trend since 2010-2011, but it had been expected to rise following a series of Obama administration changes to make it easier for families to apply for the grant.
The proposal "eliminates or reduces" a list of programs without giving further details, including: "Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnership, Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property, and International Education programs."
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