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President Trump’s budget slashes higher education waste: policy analyst

There’s a lot to unpack in President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, and one policy analyst says there’s good news when it comes to higher education spending.

Mary Clare Reim, an education policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, writes at The Daily Signal that the administration’s spending plan will cut wasteful higher education spending and its focus on changing the status quo is “welcome news.”

“For decades, the federal government has increased spending on higher education programs with not much to show for it—other than higher tuition prices,” Reim writes.

There’s a few ways the spending blueprint would reduce higher education costs, according to Reim. One includes the elimination of the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program:

As implied by the name, the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant program simply supplements the already generous Pell Grant program, which offers funding for low-income students to attend college. This redundant federal spending is, as the 2018 Blueprint puts it, “a less well-targeted way to deliver need-based aid than the Pell Grant program.”

The budget would also cut “wasteful Pell Grant funding,” Reim writes:

Funding for the Pell Grant program skyrocketed under the Obama administration. In 2010-2011, the Department of Education spent $39.1 billion on the Pell Grant program, compared to $15.5 billion in 2005-2006.

The Trump administration’s 2018 budget would cut the program by $3.9 billion, which the administration notes would put the Pell Grant program on more solid financial footing for the next 10 years. While the program is still expansive—due in part to expanded eligibility—this budget cut is a significant first step in restoring pre-2008 funding levels (the point at which the program doubled in size).

The budget would cut funding for other programs and keep the Federal Work-Study Program in check, Reim writes. She adds the proposed budget would help stop the “spending spree” in higher education:

Overall, this budget lowers discretionary spending at the Department of Education from $68 billion to $59 billion. This is welcome news to taxpayers who have seen the size and scope of the Department of Education grow exponentially since its inception in 1979.

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