Trump May Try to Kill AmeriCorps

Administration's draft list of programs to eliminate includes the national service program, which has provided $2.4 billion in student aid, as well as humanities and arts endowments.

February 20, 2017

The Trump administration is circulating a list of programs to eliminate -- and it includes the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency that finances AmeriCorps, which places young people in service positions in which they earn money for student aid or to repay student loans.

The list, revealed by The New York Times, also includes the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, previously reported to be targets for elimination in the first Trump budget. Both the NEH and the NEA support campus programs, and their advocates in higher education are already seeking support to save the agencies.

The Times article noted that the list indicates that final decisions haven't been made, but all of the programs on the list have for years had conservative critics who want to end them.

In the case of AmeriCorps, the program was a major initiative of President Clinton, and has long been associated with him. Hillary Clinton, in her campaign, vowed to expand the program. While many have praised the program for promoting service among young people and providing them with money for college, the program has been stymied by tight budgets and has never become as large or influential as President Clinton envisioned. (Here is a background article from 2014 about the program on its 20th anniversary.)

AmeriCorps has been a meaningful source of money for college for its participants. For a year of service, students can receive a grant equivalent to the maximum Pell Grant to use for future college costs or to repay student loans, and students may receive up two of these educational awards. (The maximum Pell Grant for 2015-16 was $5,775.)

Since 1994, about 1 million people who were AmeriCorps participants have received education grants that total more than $2.4 billion. The value of the grants is even larger at the many colleges and universities that match AmeriCorps education awards.

The programs on the list obtained by the Times are all relatively small, but the article suggested that the administration wants to find any savings possible in domestic spending and to eliminate programs when  possible.

As word spread Friday night of AmeriCorps as a target, its program participants and alumni took to social media to talk about what they had done in the program.

 

 

 

 

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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