NACAC Opposes President’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget

Michael Rose

Arlington, VA (Feb. 11, 2020) – The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) today announced its opposition to President Trump’s fiscal year 2021 budget, which calls for a nearly 8 percent reduction in education spending. Included among the Department of Education cuts are a number of programs that prepare students for postsecondary education and provide need-based financial aid for low-income students.

Although Trump’s proposal includes a $2 billion increase in funding for career and technical education and would expand Pell Grant eligibility to incarcerated students—two provisions supported by NACAC—the overall budget is harmful to students and taxpayers, said Joyce Smith, NACAC’s chief executive officer.

“The Department of Education has been underfunded for years, and, unfortunately, the president has chosen to continue down this path,” Smith said. “This budget will make a college degree much more costly for those who can least afford it, at a time when obtaining a postsecondary credential is more important than ever.”

The president’s budget, which is nonbinding, calls for:

  • Making changes to federal student aid programs will result in students paying $170 billion more over 10 years for postsecondary certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees.  Among the changes are eliminating Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and cutting work-study funding by half.

  • Eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which allows not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal student loans canceled after 10 years of on-time payments.

  • Maintaining the poorly designed borrower defense to repayment rule that Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued last year and rescinding the gainful employment rule. Both rules are critical to ensuing students and taxpayers are protected from unscrupulous colleges, which cost the nation billions of dollars every year.

  • Rolling 29 elementary and secondary school programs into a new block grant and reducing the overall funding for these programs by $4.7 billion. Affected programs include the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV, Part A), which currently can be used by school districts to hire counselors.

  • Cutting the Department of State’s budget by 21 percent, which will likely squeeze programs designed to promote student and academic exchanges.

“Congress has rejected many of these ideas in the past,” said Smith. “I urge Congress to reject them again and, instead, to invest in our nation’s students so that they can achieve their academic dreams.”

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), founded in 1937, is an organization of more than 15,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education. NACAC is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process, as outlined in the association's Code of Ethics and Professional Practices.

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