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The Trump Administration’s first budget proposal, released March 2017, plans to drastically cut spending for many government agencies and programs, some programs and agencies will be eliminated entirely if the proposal is adopted.

How will these spending cuts impact you?

For education in particular, the President’s 2018 budget proposal would cut spending and eliminate funds for many federal education programs including, the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, and the Pell Grants program.

The spending cuts for these four programs alone account for $8.2 billion of the overall $9 billion U.S. Department of Education cut, which is about 13% lower than last year’s budget.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant program, or FSEOG provides between $100-$4,000 a year for students with financial need. FSEOG provides financial aid to around 1.6 million undergraduates each year. Eliminating the FSEOGs program would save the government an estimated $732 million.

The 2018 budget proposal also seeks to cut spending to the nation’s largest federally funded income-based financial aid program, the Pell Grant program.

Pell Grants have been around since 1972 and provide federal financial support for low-income undergraduate students. Unlike standard college loans, the Pell Grants do not have to be paid back.

According to the Trump Administration, the overall goal of the Pell Grant program’s budget reduction is to safeguard its survival. The proposed $3.9 billion spending cut is targeted towards the program’s unobligated carryover funding.

Since 2000, taxpayers have spent an estimated $300 billion on Pell Grants. These grants currently send maximum annual awards of up to $5,775 to students whose families make a combined annual income of less than $40,000, placing a priority on students whose families earn less than $20,000.

The awarded amount an individual receives through Pell Grants depends on the student’s financial need, the cost to attend school, the individual’s status as a full-time or part-time student and the student’s plan to attend school for a full academic year or less. The money given to students will first go to the college to pay tuition and fees, while anything left over can be used by the student to pay for books and living expenses.

While Pell Grants are the U.S. Department of Education’s largest expense, based on the data and the strong public response surrounding this budget cut, the need for this type of program is still very evident.

During the 2014-2015 academic year, Texas A&M University of Kingsville had 88% of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants, Texas Southern University had 69% of its undergraduate population receiving Pell Grants and Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas had 46% of its undergraduate population receiving Pell Grants.

Many other national universities, liberal arts colleges, regional universities and regional colleges also had a significant majority of their student population relying on these grants to attend school during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Will these budget cuts actually take place?

It is now up to congress to approve or reject the 2018 budget proposal.

It is more important than ever to make sure you have a solid educational foundation to ensure your future success. At Vista College, we provide step-by-step financial aid guidance for our students. Contact us today and start taking the necessary steps to secure your future.

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