Administration’s FY18 Budget calls for cuts to student aid, research

On May 23, President Donald Trump released his proposed budget, which includes cuts that could prove devastating to students and higher education research if enacted.

Under President Trump’s budget, the US Department of Education’s overall budget would be cut by 13.6 percent, and the National Institutes of Health, the largest federal supporter of biomedical research, will be cut by 22 percent. The proposal increases school choice by expanding funding for voucher programs and charter schools, while cutting key student financial aid programs and research reimbursements to colleges and universities.

The budget calls for several changes and cuts to student financial aid and borrower benefits. These changes include a consolidation of multiple student loan income-based repayment programs into one single plan that shortens the schedule for loan forgiveness from 20 years to 15 years, but could increase monthly payments. The administration’s proposal would also end the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

The Perkins Loan program, which provides low-interest loans to both undergraduate and graduate students, would be allowed to expire, and the proposal also ends subsidized Stafford loans, which typically save students thousands of dollars in accrued interest while they are in school.

In addition to the proposed cuts to student aid, the proposed budget also makes large cuts to other research agencies, in part, by suggesting savings can be gained by cutting “facilities and administration” fees known as “indirect costs”, which reimburse institutions for costs related to research.

The budget would eliminate funding for ShakeAlert, a program that involves UO through its management of the Oregon portion of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

Finally, the proposed budget would also cut college access programs like TRIO, and GEAR UP, which identify and provide services for first generation, lower income or under-represented students. 

The administration’s proposed budget is an important statement of the Administration’s values, but it only a piece of the budgeting process. Every year the President releases a proposed budget, which is then considered and revised by Congress during the appropriations process. Additional information is available on the Government and Community Relations Federal Affairs website.