The Trump/DeVos budget proposal for fiscal year 2021, released Feb. 10, would slash education funding by $6.1 billion—8.4 percent—compared to the amount Congress provided this year. Lowlights include:
- Replacing Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) programs with a block grant. Funding for Title I, Title II, English-language learners, community schools, rural education, and more would be combined—and then slashed by nearly $5 billion.
- Failing to pay the promised share of special education funding. When Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), it promised the federal government would pay 40 percent of special education costs. Under the Trump administration, the federal government’s share has fallen to a record low of 13 percent.
- Robbing public schools of resources with yet another voucher scheme. Tax credits for money donated to “Education Freedom Scholarships” could divert up to $5 billion in taxpayer dollars from the U.S. Treasury to private schools.
- Slashing student aid—again. Public service loan forgiveness would end, along with subsidized federal student loans. Work-study funding would decline by 55 percent. Parent PLUS loans would be capped at $26,500 and loans for graduate students at $100,000—far below the cost of multi-year programs like medical school.
Low-income students and families would also suffer under other recent Trump administration proposals, including big cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps) and the attempt to convert Medicaid to block grants—an approach repeatedly rejected by Congress. Here again, the push for block grants is a subterfuge for cutting benefits and limiting access for the most vulnerable.