The Trump administration proposed a 56 percent cut to work-study funding for low-income and middle-class college students.
College affordability and swelling student loan burdens for students across the country has become a growing problem in recent years.
And the Trump administration is hell-bent on making it worse, proposing draconian cuts to work-study and other student loan programs that make it easier for low-income and middle-class students to obtain a college degree.
According to top-line numbers from Trump's budget, Trump wants to slash a whopping 56 percent from the federal work-study program — in which both undergraduate and graduate students with a demonstrated need are paid by the federal government to work part-time jobs at their colleges or universities to help them pay for their education.
The cut is extremely significant and immediate. For the 2019 fiscal year, Congress appropriated $1.13 billion in federal work-study aid. The Trump administration wants to immediately cut that by 56 percent for the 2020 fiscal year, allocating just $500 billion for the program. That would instantly impact students who count on those funds to pay for their college programs.
That's not the only massive cuts Trump wants to make to education spending.
Trump also wants to eliminate two kinds of student loans that help students afford college.
That includes nixing subsidized student loans — in which certain low-income students are offered loans that do not accrue interest while a student is in college. That lowers the amount of interest a student accrues, making the loan somewhat easier to pay off down the road. Eliminating this program would save $24.3 billion over the course of 10 years, according to Trump's budget.
Trump also wants to get rid of Public Service Loan Forgiveness, in which the government forgives student debt for students who work in certain government or nonprofit organizations.
For example, many law students utilize this program in order to become public defenders. The program incentivizes law students to become public defenders — a necessary public service in our legal system — instead of higher-paid corporate lawyers, as it provides a way for these students to avoid crippling debt that could follow them their entire professional careers.
The Trump administration says eliminating this loan forgiveness program would save $53 billion over the course of a decade.
Of course, these budget cuts come as Republicans passed Trump's tax scam, which slashed taxes for the richest Americans.
Clearly the burden of those tax cuts for the rich has now fallen on lower- and middle-class Americans, whom Trump wants to hamper from getting ahead with hefty cuts to beneficial student loan programs and other parts of the social safety net like food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid.
The one bright spot for Americans scared that they could lose these crucial benefits is that the House is now controlled by Democrats — who would never vote to approve these cruel cuts.
Published with permission of The American Independent.