“The Trump Administration’s Budget Blueprint, also referred to as the “skinny budget,” touts budget savings, but in truth, harms the neediest Americans seeking to improve their life circumstances and ascend to the middle class by earning a college degree. Skyrocketing college costs mean students are shouldering a heavier burden than ever before. And the proposed cuts to Department of Education programs hurt the very Americans who have the most to gain from a college education. The Trump Administration is masquerading harmful budget cuts as smart savings—all of which will be borne on the backs of the neediest students.
“The proposed $3.9 billion dollar reduction in existing Pell Grant program funding is far from ‘sound footing’ and is more like shaky ground. The proposed reduction does nothing to safeguard the program and, instead, cuts aid for the neediest students. Also troubling is the proposed elimination of the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program and reductions to the federal work study program, both of which are important sources of aid for students with exceptional financial need. Similarly, the House Education and Workforce Committee’s budget proposal, recently put forth by the Republican majority, seeks to eliminate mandatory funding for the Pell Grant program. This move would have disastrous effects and would mean fewer of the neediest Americans can access and persist in college.
“In addition, the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to the Federal TRIO programs and GEAR UP—programs designed to help low-income students—remove the pathways and stepping stones that help many young Americans who dream of one day earning a college degree. The sting of these misguided cuts will be felt on campuses throughout America, but will be more painful at community colleges, HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions, and public and private institutions that serve high numbers of low-income students.
“College and community leaders should be outraged by these proposed cuts that will harm the very people President Trump promised to protect. Instead of raiding existing Pell Grant program funds, the Trump Administration should call upon Congress to enact smart and impactful investments including year-round Pell, indexing the Pell Grant to inflation, increasing the maximum award, and supporting the SEOG program.
“IHEP calls on Congress to keep intact the federal dollars that support our neediest students and keep the promise of higher education within reach for all Americans.”