Beware the Raid on Student Aid

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By Michael Dannenberg | April 26th, 2017

President Trump is proposing to empty over half of the Pell Grant program’s rainy day fund at a time when the economy is relatively stable. The money is not going to boost college grant aid for students already forced to borrow too much. Instead, like all of Trump’s proposed cuts to non-defense domestic spending, student aid funds essentially would be redirected to pay for Trump’s proposed military buildup. We should find out in a few days if Congressional Republicans will be complicit in shifting Pell Grant aid in support of the military buildup or other partisan priorities.

The raid on student aid is a bigger deal for domestic policy than just another politician dipping his hand into the cookie jar. It’s a bigger deal than being emblematic of the Trump Administration’s prioritization of weapons over people in its first budget. It’s a threat around which education advocates should mobilize, but likely won’t, because the interaction between the Pell Grant program and federal budget rules are obscure and the implications delayed in time. But the consequences of emptying the Pell Grant rainy day fund are very real for families.

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