Trump’s Education, Job Training Budget Cuts Would Be Devastating for Iowa Community Colleges

While Donald Trump tours Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids today, he is unlikely to mention his budget proposal to eliminate loan programs that help students afford higher education. On top of proposed cuts to the federal education programs, Trump’s budget would drastically reduce access to job training programs that Kirkwood relies on to help Iowans gain access to the workforce and provide for their families.


“Donald Trump’s budget would gut funding for public education and job training programs that have helped Iowans gain the experience and training they need to succeed in our modern workforce,” said Mandy McClure, DNC Midwest Regional Press Secretary. “Trump is touting policies that could put community college out-of-reach for low-income students, dismantle critical agricultural programs and industry training partnerships, and strip health coverage from thousands of Iowans. Instead of gutting essential education and job training programs, Trump should be working to help Iowans succeed by making higher education more affordable and accessible.”


Trump has proposed phasing out the Perkins Loan Program, a campus-based financial aid program that helps Iowa students to access higher education. Instead of creating opportunities for students to succeed, Trump’s budget would also stop subsidizing the interest on student loans, making college more expensive for primarily low-income graduates.


Inside Higher Ed: “The White House estimates that $143 billion would be saved over a decade by allowing the Perkins Loan program to expire and phasing out subsidized federal student loans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness after next year.”


Students at community colleges would be especially impacted by the Trump budget’s $168 million cut to the Perkins CTE State Grants, a proposal that the American Association of Community Colleges considers one of “the most disappointing for community colleges.”


American Association of Community Colleges: “Of the cuts not specified in the skinny budget, the most disappointing for community colleges are the reduction of the Perkins CTE State Grants by $168 million (15 percent), Adult Education State Grants by $96 million (16 percent) and the elimination of Title III-A of the HEA, the Strengthening Institutions program. CTE, in particular, has been highlighted by the Trump administration but the budget does not include commensurate resources.”


Trump’s budget would cut $193 million from programs aimed at helping low-income and first-generation students, including those at Kirkwood Community College, navigate their higher education.


Chronicle of Higher Education: “The proposed budget includes nearly $200 million in cuts for federal programs that help disadvantaged students make it into and through college. Those include an umbrella of eight outreach programs, called TRIO, that support the progress of low-income, first-generation, and disabled students, starting in middle school.”


Kirkwood Community College: “TRIO staff provide Kirkwood students with advice, guidance, and support to achieve their academic goals, such as obtaining an Associate's Degree and/or transferring to a four-year post-secondary institution. Students work with an individual advisor to meet TRIO program supports including but not limited to: goal and solution based counseling, financial aid process assistance, math and writing support, and transfer decision making and connecting.”


Trump’s budget proposal also eliminates economic development and manufacturing programs that community colleges rely on to provide workforce training programs for students. More than half of the proposed $2.25 billion cuts to the Labor Department’s budget would come from critical job training programs, including a $1.3 billion reduction in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grants, which Kirkwood Community College uses to support programs that help people get the skills and training they need to find good paying jobs.


American Association of Community Colleges: “Spending at the Department of Labor would be reduced by $2.5 billion, or 21 percent. The news for particular programs most important to community colleges is even worse. The formula programs authorized under the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act were each cut severely. The dislocated worker state funds would be cut from just over $1 billion to $615 million, and national dislocated worker funds would shrink from $221 million to $117 million. Adult education and training would be downsized from $816 million to $490 million, and the youth funding stream would go from $873 million to $523 million. While these severe cuts are not entirely unexpected and will very likely be tamped down by Congress, they reflect overall priorities that are problematic for community colleges.”


Associated Press: “The budget would eliminate three economic development agencies and several grant programs aimed at preserving the environment and dealing with climate change. The Minority Business Development Agency, the Economic Development Administration and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership would be eliminated.”


Trump’s budget would also gut $500 million from the Federal Work-Study program that helps about 400 Kirkwood Community College students afford their education each year. That’s nearly half of the program’s current funding.


Associated Press“The budget also proposes to nearly halve the federal work-study program to $500 million. The program provides funding to colleges and universities to create jobs for students, which help them pay tuition.”


AACC Community College Daily: “Overall, the budget blueprint would cut funding to the U.S. Education Department (ED) by $9 billion (13 percent) while the U.S. Labor Department (DOL) would face a $2.5 billion hit (21 percent). In ED, the plan would eliminate the Supplemental Educational Opportunities Grant (SEOG) program and cut the Federal Work Study (FWS), TRIO and GEAR-UP programs. Community college students receive about 18 percent of FWS aid and 23 percent of SEOG aid.”