WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will testify before the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees, where she will need to explain her decision to drastically reduce funding for higher education programs, many that target low-income students, in the upcoming fiscal year. Today will be Secretary DeVos’ first time testifying before a Democratic-controlled House. On Thursday, she is scheduled to testify before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.
The proposed Department of Education budget cuts 10 percent from last year’s spending levels, reduces or eliminates funding for 29 programs, including SEOG grants, work-study, subsidized Stafford loans, and a raft of programs that benefit minority serving institutions and low-income students including TRIO and GEAR UP. In contrast, the budget diverts taxpayer funds to pay for tax breaks for private institutions.
Center for Responsible Lending Executive Vice President Debbie Goldstein released the following statement:
Betsy DeVos has some explaining to do—her disinterest in prioritizing quality and affordable education for students is disheartening and erodes the confidence the public has in the Department of Education. Secretary DeVos and the Administration claim they care about borrowers and their families, but they propose harmful cuts to programs that will negatively impact student success. These shortsighted budget cuts will only undermine the ability of students to complete their degrees on a timely basis and will make college less affordable by pushing millions of student borrowers toward costlier student loans.
Secretary DeVos and the Education Department have already fallen far behind in working with students who are entitled to public service loan forgiveness or assistance after their schools have closed due to poor oversight—this budget just further fails students who deserve better.
Instead of punishing for-profit institutions that have deceived students and encouraged them to take on unaffordable levels of student debt, Secretary DeVos will defend President Trump’s proposal to extend taxpayer money to finance unproven short-term programs, many of which will be offered by these very same for-profit colleges.
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