Politics

Elizabeth Warren Calls Out Trump Over Proposed Education Cuts

May 23rd 2017

By:
Kyle Jaeger

The president's budget proposal would directly hit students and roll back education programs that benefit the most vulnerable groups, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) said in a video posted to her Facebook page Monday.

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Trump's budget, which was released on Tuesday, calls for about $11 billion in cuts to a wide range of federal education programs, including after-school programs, school arts programs, foreign language programs, and teacher training services.

In the video, Warren described the education cuts as an "unbelievable statement of where Trump and [Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos] want to take this country."

In addition to eliminating programs that benefit K-12 students, the budget would also hurt college students, Warren said. It would eliminate a program that forgives student loans for individuals who work in public service careers after ten years, downsize the federal work-study program that helps students earn money while paying off college expenses, and reduce Pell Grants — subsidies that go to students in financial need — by $4 billion.

Another proposed cut, which the senator called "especially awful," would roll back student loan subsidies provided to low-income students.

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"So what’s the plan of DeVos and Trump? It’s to make student loans more expensive for the students who have the most trouble paying them," Warren said. "They want to make sure that more students stay in debt even longer and pay even more back to the federal government."

"The Trump-DeVos budget would push opportunities out of the reach of millions of students across this county. It would ruin lives."

Natalia Abrams, executive director of the advocacy group Student Debt Crisis, also raised concerns about the elimination of student loan subsidies.

"We need to make it easier for people to go to and pay for college," she told The Associated Press. "This budget does the exact opposite."

It's not all cuts, though.

The budget proposal would also create a $1 billion grant program that would allow low-income public school students in grades K-12 to transfer to schools outside of their neighborhood, "and take that extra money with them," NPR reported. Critics of that plan argue that it could take federal funds from schools in low-income neighborhoods and redistribute them to more affluent districts.

There would also be $250 million in funds set aside for a voucher program that would go toward private school expenses for qualified students.

That said, the fate of Trump's budget proposal is uncertain. Congress will debate the proposal, using its recommendations as a guide as they craft their own version, and so it's possible that certain programs would be left alone, or cut to a lesser extent.