On Tuesday, May 23, the Trump administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget. Like the FY 2018 “skinny” budget outline released on March 16, the full proposal reflects President Trump’s intention to increase defense spending by 10 percent—or $54 billion—and offset those increases by cutting discretionary spending by a similar amount.
Cuts to the discretionary areas of the federal budget include many agencies and programs that will affect higher education, including spending on federal financial aid programs, student loan repayment programs, and scientific research.
Key elements and agencies affected by Trump's proposal can be found here, but here are questions for boards to consider in light of this budget.
- Is your board informed of the array of federal student aid programs in which your institution participates—such as work-study, SEOG—as well as the number of students on your campus who benefit from these programs?
- What areas of research on your campus receive funding from federal sources, such as the National Institutes of Health, and how might such research activity be impacted by reductions in federal spending?
- Has your board heard from your financial aid office as to how your students may be impacted by changes to federal student aid and student loan repayment programs, and any anticipated impact such changes might have on enrollment?
- How might these proposed reductions impact the ability of your institution to fulfill its mission, especially in the areas of research and student success?
- Should these proposed reductions in federal support ultimately occur, has your institution assessed the financial risk and considered alternative sources of revenue to make up the difference?
- What implications might the proposed cuts to federal work-study have on institutional operations and on-campus employment? What other services or opportunities might your institution be compelled to provide in light of decreased funding for childcare programs serving parent students?
- Has your board considered its own advocacy role related to the proposed budget?