What does Trump’s FY 2018 Proposed Budget mean for education programs?

Published: March 22, 2017

Education (Higher)Education (Primary/Secondary)President Trump

In the FY 2018 White House Budget Blueprint, the Department of Education funding has been reduced by $9 billion compared to FY 2017.

In President Trump’s recently released FY 2018 White House Budget Blueprint, funding allocated to the Department of Education has been reduced by 13%. In 2017, the Department of Education received $9 billion more than the $59 billion in the proposed budget for 2018. The budget outlines that it will refocus on supporting states’ and school districts’ efforts to provide high quality education to students. The goal is also to assist in obtaining a more affordable college education. In lowering the education budget, the White House is hoping to reduce taxpayer costs by eliminating funding to programs that are unsuccessful.

One of the largest increases in the budget is investing more in school choice programs. According to the Budget Blueprint, “The 2018 Budget places power in the hands of parents and families to choose schools that are best for their children by investing an additional $1.4 billion in school choice programs.”  The additional investment will go towards charter schools ($168B), a new private school choice program ($250M), and for Title I schools ($1B). The Title I schools budget would follow students if they choose to change their school. The White House is trying to encourage districts to move towards student-based budgeting, where the funds would follow the student to the public school of their choice.

The budget will continue with providing funding towards the Pell Grant program (but proposes canceling the $3.9B carryover funding) and maintains the $494 million supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions. Trump continues to support investing in students with disabilities, and maintains funding for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs to support students with special education needs. Deltek tracks several opportunities that are driven by this program, including this California Department of Education opportunity for a Special Education Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART). Deltek expects this opportunity to continue as expected with Trump maintaining the budget for IDEA programs at $13 billion.

With the 13% funding cuts comes the inevitable elimination of programs. President Trump would like to eliminate funding ineffective programs that do not serve the country’s needs, or programs that are duplicative. A few programs that will be eliminated include funding towards the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program ($2.4B), 21st Century Community Learning Centers program ($1.2B), and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program ($732M). Critics would argue pulling funds from these programs displays a lack of support towards public education.

With the budget’s decrease from $68 billion in 2017 to $59 billion in 2018, the overall trend seen in the budget is investing towards the school choice programs and elimination of several public school-supported programs. The White House is prioritizing the ability for parents to choose the right schools for their children over public school education. However, because this is only the budget request submitted to Congress, until it is finalized we will not know for certain if these funding requests will be implemented in the approved FY 2018 budget. Dependent on the final budget funding numbers, the above funding changes could affect the education projects that state, local and education entities are working on.

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