The Trump administration has released a 2021 budget proposal that includes deep cuts to education. The proposal outlines plans to cut Pell Grant funding. Furthermore, it would eliminate subsidized student loans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
“We’re going to have a very good budget with a very powerful military budget, because we have no choice,” Trump said at the White House following the proposal’s release. The budget includes a request for $740.5 billion in defense spending.
An Uncertain Future for Student Borrowers
Many of the budget’s education-related cuts have to do with student loan relief. The budget calls for a $3.9 million cut from the Pell Grant Surplus, a fund set up to protect the grant from unexpected increases in demand.
Trump’s budget would also eliminate federally subsidized student loans. These are student loans where interest is covered by the government while the student is enrolled.
Additionally, the proposal calls for the elimination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This program provides debt relief by canceling the federal student loans of teachers, police officers, government workers, and other public servants after ten years of payments, according to the New York Times.
Budget Cuts in Other Areas
Beyond cuts to education, the budget proposal also includes significant alterations to healthcare and environmental funding. According to the Times, changes in the budget would “tend to lower federal spending in Medicaid, by reducing the share of medical bills the federal government will pay for the Obamacare expansion population and imposing new requirements on beneficiaries who wish to enroll.” The resulting cuts total about a trillion dollars, the Times says.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would stand to lose 50 programs, along with a 26% reduction in funding. The budget seeks to reduce the agency to “core functions,” such as addressing lead contamination in drinking water. At the same time, environmental efforts like beach clean-up would be eliminated. The proposal does not address the issue of climate change.
Swift Feedback from Critics
The proposal’s significant cuts to social programs has already been met with criticism. “Judging by initial reports, this destructive and irrational president is giving us a destructive and irrational budget,” said House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY)., per Forbes.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said in a statement, “Year after year, President Trump’s budgets have sought to inflict devastating cuts to critical lifelines that millions of Americans rely on,” according to The Hill.
Trump Budget Proposal — Sources:
Forbes – “Trump Budget Proposes Cuts To Education”
The Hill – “Trump to request 6 percent domestic cuts in $4.8 trillion budget”
The Hill – “Trump unveils $4.8 trillion budget that backtracks on deal with Congress”
The New York Times – “Trump’s $4.8 Trillion Budget Would Cut Safety Net Programs and Boost Defense”