Education Spending in the Crosshairs

Student aid advocates didn’t find much to like in a House education appropriations bill released last week -- lawmakers removed billions from the Pell Grant surplus while taking no significant steps to improve college access. But educators could at least find consolation in the fact that the committee didn’t follow through on the drastic cuts to many aid programs proposed in the White House budget in May.

Advocacy groups found no such consolation in the House budget resolution released this week. The document calls for a rewrite of the tax code and for hundreds of billions in cuts to federal programs. More significant for advocates is reconciliation language included in the resolution that calls for $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts over the next 10 years -- $20 billion of that coming from programs overseen by the House education committee.

Those savings would come on top of cuts already made to education programs through the appropriations process. And if the resolution passes, student aid groups say that would likely mean Congress adopts one or more of the drastic changes to student loan programs contemplated by the Trump budget -- elimination of Public Service Loan Forgiveness, ending interest free undergraduate loans or changing income-based loan repayment plans.

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