The Trump Administration has released the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which lays out a series of proposals and priorities designed to ensure every student has an equal opportunity to receive a high quality education. Through this budget, the President has reaffirmed his commitment to returning decision-making power over education back where it belongs—in the hands of parents, educators and State leaders.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued the following statement:
“This budget makes an historic investment in America’s students. President Trump is committed to ensuring the Department focuses on returning decision-making power back to the States, where it belongs, and on giving parents more control over their child’s education. It also ensures stable funding for critical programs, including Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
“The budget also reflects a series of tough choices we have had to make when assessing the best use of taxpayer money. It ensures funding for programs with proven results for students while taking a hard look at programs that sound nice but simply haven’t yielded the desired outcomes.
“By refocusing the Department’s funding priorities on supporting students, we can usher in a new era of creativity and ingenuity and lay a new foundation for American greatness.”
Key initiatives in the President’s 2018 budget are below:
Creating New Education Options through School Choice
- $1 billion increase for Title I for new Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) grants. FOCUS grants would provide supplemental awards to school districts that adopt student-centered weighted student funding formulas combined with open enrollment systems.
- $250 million increase for the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program for competitive awards for applicants to provide scholarships for students from low-income families to attend the private school of their parents’ choice.
- $167 million increase for the Charter Schools Grants program to strengthen State efforts to start new charter schools or expand and replicate existing high-performing charter schools while providing up to $100 million to meet the growing demand for charter school facilities.
Maintaining Support for the Nation’s Most Vulnerable Students
- $14.9 billion in level funding for the core Title I Grants to local education agencies (LEAs) program to support State and local efforts to ensure that more than 25 million students in high-poverty schools have access to rigorous coursework and teaching.
- $12.7 billion to maintain the Federal investment in the IDEA formula grant programs, which help support services to the 6.8 million children with disabilities nationwide and to States in their ongoing work to design and implement program improvement efforts under the Department’s Results Driven Accountability framework.
- $736 million for the English Language Acquisition program to implement effective language instruction educational programs designed to help English learners attain English language proficiency.
Simplifying Funding for Postsecondary Education
- Safeguards and strengthens the Pell Grant program by level funding the discretionary appropriation and supporting year-round Pell, which will increase aid available to eligible students by $16.3 billion over 10 years. The budget also proposes the cancellation of $3.9 billion from unobligated carryover funding; this cancellation will have no effect on students and will leave the Pell program on sound footing.
- Simplifies loan repayment for students by replacing five different income driven repayment plans with a single plan aimed at prioritizing expedited loan repayment for undergraduate borrowers.
- Provides $808.3 million for the Federal TRIO Programs and $219 million for GEAR UP, resulting in savings of $193 million from the 2017 annualized CR level. Funding for these programs is reduced in areas that are either not supported by rigorous evidence of effectiveness or that can be supported through other resources.
- Provides $492 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority-Serving Institutions, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions through the Higher Education Act Titles III and V programs. Titles III and V funding are important vehicles for helping close gaps among racial and socioeconomic groups in college enrollment and degree attainment by improving these institutions’ academic programs, institutional capacity and student support services.
- Reduces Federal Work-Study while reforming the poorly-targeted program to ensure funds go to undergraduate students who would benefit most.
Building Evidence around Educational Innovation
- $616.8 million for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) for continued support of State and local-based research, evaluation and statistics that help educators, policymakers and other stakeholders improve outcomes for all students.
- $370 million for Education Innovation and Research to expand support for evidence‑based initiatives to develop, validate and scale up effective education interventions that help States and LEAs meet Elementary and Secondary Education Act requirements.
- $42 million for Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) to provide evidence-based professional development activities and prepare teachers and principals from nontraditional preparation and certification routes to serve in high-need LEAs.
Streamlining Existing Programs
- Eliminates funding for Supporting Effective Instruction State grants, a reduction of $2.3 billion. The program is proposed for elimination because evidence shows the program is poorly structured to support activities that have a measurable impact on improving student outcomes and it duplicates other ESEA program funds that may be used for professional development.
- Eliminates funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, saving $1.2 billion. The program lacks strong evidence of meeting its objectives, such as improving student achievement.
- Eliminates Striving Readers/Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants, which will save $190 million. This program has limited impact (only 5-10 State grants are expected in the final cohort) and duplicates activities that may be supported with other Federal, State, local and private funds.
Note that because the President’s budget was completed before final fiscal year 2017 appropriations action, all comparisons are to the 2017 annualized CR level.
More information on the Department of Education’s budget request can be found at https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget18/index.html.