The chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that handles education funding told U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos “it’s almost certain” the panel will not pass the cuts to federal student aid and TRIO programs President Trump wants.
As part of the $6 billion reduction in education funding he called for in a February budget request, Trump proposed a $630 million cut to the work-study program. He also proposed cutting $140 million from TRIO programs, including the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), which prepare disadvantaged K-12 students for college.
"It’s almost certain we would not cut programs like TRIO or campus-based student aid like federal work-study," said the subcommittee's chairman, Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri.
Democrats on the committee also assailed a number of the president's other proposed cuts, including to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
“The budget does nothing to address the college affordability crisis facing our nation,” Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, told DeVos during a hearing on the budget proposal before the appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, education, and related agencies.
Murray also criticized DeVos on the rule the Education Department is expected to issue changing how institutions handle allegations of sexual assault and harassment on campus. Most controversially, the proposal is expected to require those accused of assault or harassment to be able to cross-examine their accusers in a live hearing.
“This is not about ‘restoring balance’ -- this is about silencing survivors,” Murray said. “Your rule will make it that much harder for a student to report an incident, while making it that much easier for a school to sweep it under the rug.”
DeVos responded that she is concerned that “survivors of sexual assault anywhere and at any time have the opportunity and a clear path to make sure their stories and cases are heard. And our rule will certainly seek to do just that.”