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White House Calls for More Cuts to Pell

March 29, 2017

The Trump administration has called on the U.S. Congress to cut $3 billion from the U.S. Department of Education's budget as part of $18 billion in new proposed cuts to social programs for the current fiscal year, according to news reports. The White House previously called for a $9.2 billion (or 13.5 percent) cut to the department for next year.

The new round of slashing would include a $1.3 billion reduction to the Pell Grant program's $10.6 billion surplus, according to Politico, which would be followed by a proposed cut of $3.9 billion next year.

Some congressional sources told Politico that it is too late in the budget process to follow through on Trump's requested slashing for this fiscal year.

Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat and ranking member on the Senate's education committee, called the new White House proposals "absurd" and "absolute nonstarters" for her party.

"President Trump promised to stand up for struggling families on the campaign trail, and instead he is threatening to kick the ladder of opportunity and the chance at a middle-class life out from under millions of low-income students," she said in a written statement. "I hope Republicans join me in rejecting the anti-student proposals we’ve seen from the Trump administration in recent weeks that would destabilize the Pell Grant program, and work to protect access to affordable, high-quality higher education for all students."

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

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