March 16, 2017
Today, President Donald Trump released his first budget request (.pdf) to Congress. It includes a 15% cut to the U.S. Department of Education, including a $92 million (or 10%) decrease in TRIO funding. This would result in the elimination of services to nearly 83,000 * students. The budget request also proposes a $103 million (or 33%) decrease in GEAR UP funding as well as a freeze on future GEAR UP grant competitions pending the completion of a rigorous evaluation of the program.
From this point the President’s recommendations go to the Budget and Appropriations Committees and ultimately the full Congress. This is the beginning of what will be a long battle and we’re standing with all of you who devote your lives to helping low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities succeed.
Next week we will welcome at least 600 of you who are coming to COE’s Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C. We look forward to sharing the impact of these proposed, profoundly short-sighted cuts with all of you and to prepare the most constructive responses for your meetings with congressional members on Capitol Hill. Even if you will not be able to attend the Policy Seminar, COE will send out an action packet that will outline steps moving forward.
TRIO and GEAR UP programs have been attacked in the past. Yet, through your collective action they have survived these attacks, and even grown stronger. We are confident in our community’s ability and commitment to defend our students once again.
* This figure is updated from an earlier estimation projecting a 92,000 student loss.