Trump, DeVos Call for Cuts to Student Aid

The Washington Post
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Trump administration is seeking to slash nearly $4 billion in annual funding for student aid programs, but the two-year budget deal signed into law last week complicates that proposal.

President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released a fiscal 2019 budget on Monday that rehashes many of the proposals floated by the White House last year.

Among them are plans to ax loan forgiveness for public servants, alter the terms of income-driven student loan repayment and stop paying the interest on low-income students’ loans while they are in school.

Those three changes alone could increase the cost of higher education for the nation’s borrowers by more than $200 billion over the next decade.

Trump wants to consolidate five income-driven plans into one that shortens the payment period to 15 years for undergraduates but raises the monthly bill to 12.5 percent of income for both undergraduates and graduate students.

Graduate students, though, would have to pay for longer: 30 years. What’s more, future borrowers would no longer have the option of working as teachers or social workers to receive debt forgiveness after 10 years of loan payments.

The Institute for College Access & Success, a student advocacy group, estimates that under Trump’s income-driven plan, teachers who borrowed for graduate school would pay more than 3½ times the amount required than if they had access to loan forgiveness for public servants.

“At a time when millions of students are struggling under the crushing burden of student debt, it speaks volumes that President Trump and Secretary DeVos are proposing $200 billion in cuts to financial aid,” Sen. Patty Murray, of Washington, ranking Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a statement. “This is a complete 180 from the agreement Republicans and Democrats made last week.”