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sketch of Donald Trump's faceA proposed budget obtained by the Washington Post last week revealed that the Department of Education (DoED) could lose about $10.6 billion in federal funding if Congress approves the spending cuts to the department proposed by the Trump administration. For instance, the budget recommends cutting funding to the Perkins Loans program, which benefits disabled students, by $700 million. This is in addition to terminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which currently benefits over 400,000 students, including teachers and social workers.

College Grants

Moreover, funding for work-study program would reduce by almost $500 million, which is likely to affect the students who depend on this program to work their way through college. The budget also proposes to eliminate subsidized federal loans. The budget also proposes to eliminate a $15 million fund designed to assist low-income parents attending college pay for childcare. While funding to the Pell Grants would be unaffected by the proposed spending cuts, the program would receive no additional funds to compensate for the $700 million funding cut to the Perkins Loans program. Instead, grants for technical education and career will lose $168 million in federal funding. Other programs that are set to lose a significant amount of federal dollars include Promise Neighborhoods ($13 million) and an adult literacy program ($96 million). The former program supports children in poor communities. Of course, these spending cuts are likely to affect some of the over 12 million American college students who depend on financial assistance to get through college.  For instance, the reduced funding will drastically reduce the options available for needy students who wish to pursue higher education or careers in skilled trades.

K-12 Public School Education Funding

When it comes to the K-12 public school education system, the budget proposes to terminate 22 after school programs that collectively cost the federal government $1.2 billion annually. These programs serve about two million mostly poor children. This is in addition to terminating the $2.1 billion fund meant for teacher training and class size reduction. Other K-12 education programs earmarked for funding cuts include Alaskan and Hawaiian Native populations program ($65 million), foreign language and international studies programs ($72 million), arts program ($27 million), Special Olympics programs (12 million) and the gifted students program ($12 million).

Student Enrichment Programs

Student enrichment programs in public schools will vanish since the Trump administration allocates no funds for these programs in the next fiscal year. These programs are important because they help schools offer vital services including mental health services, advanced coursework programs such as STEM programs as well as physical education. It is worth noting that Congress allocated these programs up to $1.65 billion in the 2016/17 fiscal year.

Title I and Special Education Funding

The Trump administration proposes no changes to Title I public school funding, which supports impoverished children, and special education funding. However, Title I funding will likely reduce because new laws allow states to use up to seven percent of Title I funds for school improvement projects before disbursing the funds. This means that the qualifying districts may receive up to 93% of the funds instead of the entire amount allocated. Additionally, the Trump administration proposes to create a new grant program called Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) and channel $1 billion from the Title 1 fund to the new fund. According to Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary, FOCUS would allow parents more freedom to choose their children’s schools.

Conclusion

The Trump administration proposes to make spending cuts to the Department of Education (DoED). Collectively, these spending cuts will amount to about $10.6 billion and will touch everything from grants to K-12 education funding to student enrichment programs.

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