House grapples with higher ed budget, departs from President Trump
- The proposed budget bill for the upcoming fiscal year making its way through the House includes far less drastic cuts to higher education than were proposed by President Donald Trump’s budget, according to the Washington Post. However, there were still some proposed cuts and elimination of programs.
- The proposed budget includes a plan to pull $3.3 billion from Pell grant program reserves, but keeps funding steady for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. It also maintains funding for federal work-study programs, instead of cutting them in half as proposed by the president. Trump also sought cuts for the TRIO and Gear Up programs, but the House budget allocates millions more.
- Some programs faced elimination, including the Child Care Access Means Parents in School, which funds day care centers on campuses for low-income student parents. The budget would also eliminate the $7 million Fulbright-Hays program, which funds scholars’ international dissertation research, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Many education advocates blanched at President Donald Trump’s initial proposed budget cuts of $9.2 billion at the Department of Education, what would have amounted to a 13.5% reduction for the department. Numerous higher ed programs slated for elimination or drastic cuts were ultimately not enacted in the House Republicans’ proposed budget. Although Republicans are increasingly taking a dim view of higher education according to a recent poll, it seems that legislators are wary of committing to eliminating specific programs with a tangible impact. This was illustrated earlier this year when there was a bipartisan push by lawmakers in support of the Upward Bound grant; it was a specific program that lawmakers of both parties knew worked based on experience from constituents.
Administrators should view the new budget proposal as an indication that funding for higher ed programs and services will not necessarily be cut drastically despite President Trump’s rhetoric and proposals. However, the news does underline the need for college administrators to more clearly advocate for the benefits of federal funding for their student populations, as well as be more forthcoming about the negative consequences of steep drops in that funding on their ability to assist students, particularly students from low-income backgrounds. State funding for colleges and universities has seen a decrease in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and college administrators should work with their state and federal representatives to push for stability in federal support in lieu of a lack of support from state coffers.
- The Washington Post House Republicans at odds with Trump’s proposed higher education cuts
- Inside Higher Ed House GOP Budget Hints at Changes to Pell
- Inside Higher Ed Rallying to Defend Grants for Grad Students