Documents from a preliminary Education Department budget obtained by The Washington Post reveal President Donald Trump plans to put the Student Loan Forgiveness Program on the chopping block.
The program, which is also known as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF), was signed into law under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (CCRAA) by former President George W. Bush and popularized by the amendments introduced in it by former President Barack Obama.
It allowed students to have the remainder of their federal education loans waived after 10 years of making payments.
According to the rough draft of the budget, Trump is planning to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, and the first program to bite the dust, as a result, would be PSLF, according to the Washinton Post report.
If the proposed budget cut is finalized, funding used by higher education institutions for their work-study programs. Public schools use the money towards assisting students suffering from mental health issues while promoting advanced coursework would also be drastically cut short.
Trump plans to divert a major portion of the reported savings from cancelling PSLF towards one of the education programs his administration has been pushing for since the start – School Choice.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wholly endorses the program which looks to divert $400 million towards expanding charter schools and developing private and religious schools.
“It’s time for us to break out of the confines of the federal government’s arcane approach to education,” DeVos said earlier in May. “Washington has been in the driver’s seat for over 50 years with very little to show for its efforts.”
The motive behind encouraging the public schools to adopt a more choice-friendly policy, as Trump has said, time and again, is to reduce the role of government and increase the participation of parents when it comes to choosing their children’s schools.
The final draft of the budget, which would have to go through Congress first in order to get approved, is going to be released next week and will show to a great extent how the POTUS plans to execute his policy of School Choice.
Alexis Goldstein, a senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition of civil rights, consumer, labor and other groups, has stated he finds the idea of eliminating PSLF altogether “horrifying.”
Given the fact more than 1 million borrowers defaulted on their student loans in 2016 alone, she stated asking the American public to put off other financial plans like buying a house until their never-ending student loans are paid off is “both ill-conceived from a policy perspective and just cruel.”
Under the program, the first set of student borrowers will be eligible to get their loans waived towards the end of 2017.
It is unclear whether the 4 million students who are already eligible to get their loans forgiven whenever they hit their 10 year marks, will also have to forfeit their benefits if the Trump administration slashes the required funding to keep PSLF afloat, Market Watch reported.
A White House official refrained from divulging details about ongoing budgetary plans, simply stating, “The president and his Cabinet are working collaboratively to create a leaner, more efficient government that does more with less of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.”