President Trump’s new budget proposal contains extensive cuts to higher education and include what amounts to an elimination of a student loan forgiveness program for government and non-profit employees.
Mr. Trump outlined his new 2020 fiscal year budget in a proposal released by the White House on Monday called A Budget for a Better America. In that budget, the Department of Education would see a 10% reduction in their budget to 64 billion dollars. That’s down from 71.1 billion that was allocated for the Education sector last fiscal year.
Among the cuts in the education budget include the restructuring of income-driven repayment plans on student loans that would be capped at 12.5 percent of a person’s income. The current plan has a variety of income-driven plans that would be capped at between 10 and 15 percent, but the new proposal has only one plan capped at the 12.5 percentile.
Other reductions and eliminations include getting rid of subsidized student loans, which could potentially increase costs for loan borrowers, and undergraduate students having their student loans forgiven after 15 years, which is five years less the previous limit for undergrads. However, graduate students see an increase to their forgiveness timeline to 30 years, which is a five year increase for grad students.
The focus here is on the student loan forgiveness program used by public sector workers in government and in non-profit sectors such as AmeriCorps. The budget proposed by Mr. Trump eliminates a program that is rarely used with only 0.3 percent of applicants actually receiving student loan forgiveness under the program. The program was created by President George W. Bush in 2007 as a way to help those that work in ‘public sector’ jobs to dissuade graduates from working in private sector jobs, which have proven to be more lucrative in terms of income and benefits.
The budget is not expected to be approved by Congress, however, and may not pass the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, which is the first step before making it to the Senate floor for a vote of approval.
Incidentally, the 2020 increase to a single defense program alone would pay for free public college across America.
Brandon Howard is a Grit Post contributor, auto worker, and former public radio reporter based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Follow him on Twitter @mrpowerhoward.