• Home
  • General
  • The President Recommends Big Cuts for Education: Will the Congress Agree?

The President Recommends Big Cuts for Education: Will the Congress Agree?

A pair of scissors representing cuts in education concept

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Bad News for Education in President Trump’s FY 2021 Budget Proposal

The FY 2021 appropriations process was officially launched with the release of the President’s budget proposal on Monday. The budget is thematically similar to previous Trump budgets, in that it calls for big spending cuts all around and proposes federal support for private schools in the form of a tax credit for donations to scholarship programs (called “Education Freedom Scholarships”). The proposal represents an overall 7.8% cut ($5.6 Billion) to the Department of Education.  Key features of the proposal include the following:

Elementary and Secondary Education

  • Twenty-nine K-12 grant programs will be consolidated into a single block grant (“Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged Block Grant”) designed to provide maximum flexibility for state and local systems at $19.4 Billion – a $4.7 Billion cut from current spending.
  • The prized charter school grant program is consolidated into the block grant.
  • The big winner in the budget proposal is Career and Technical Education which is slated for $763 million increase.
  • Education Freedom Scholarships (tax credits for private schools) would cost $46 Billion over 10 years.
  • All IDEA programs are level funded; however, Part B of IDEA receives a $100 million increase.

 Higher Education

  • Student loan programs take a $190.8 Billion cut over 10 years,
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is eliminated,
  • Subsidized student loans are eliminated.
  • Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need is eliminated.
  • Teacher Quality Partnership Grants are eliminated and considered for inclusion in the “Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged Block Grant” noted above.
  • Model Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities is level funded at $11.8 million.


Institute for Education Sciences

  • An overall $58 million is cut mostly by eliminating the Regional Education.
  • Laboratories are currently funded at $56 million.
  • National Center for Special Education Research is level funded at $57 million.

Office for Civil Rights

  • The Office for Civil Rights is level funded at $130 million.

The President’s budget calls for greater cuts than are required by the budget agreement reached in the Congress last year. Majority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), said that the Senate will follow the budget agreement, not the more drastic reductions called for by the President. The budget agreement allows for a $5 billion increase in Non-Defense Discretionary spending, of which education is a small portion. It is sure to be a challenging year for education funding, even with the rejection of the President’s budget. 

There is little to no chance that the voucher tax credit proposal or the consolidated block grant will be supported on the Hill. As Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) put it: “As with his previous budgets, this one is going nowhere.”

Learn more from the Department of Education.

For more detail, see the Department of Education’s Budget Justification.

See a democrat’s response:

New Resources for Educators

Continue reading the full Washington update on my website for more information. Follow me on twitter @janewestdc.

Tags: , , , , ,

Jane E. West

AACTE Education Policy Consultant