“Skinny” Budget Undermines Science, Education, and the Public Good
An Open Letter from the AAUP to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, and Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee.
President Trump released an initial budget proposal Thursday containing deep cuts that would severely damage scientific research, the arts and humanities, and access to higher education.
The budget proposal includes a cut of nearly 20 percent to National Institutes of Health funding and deep cuts to research programs at the Department of Energy, Department of Education, and other government agencies. It decimates funding for climate change research and programs within the Environmental Protection Agency and completely eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The repercussions of these cuts, if enacted, would be very serious for faculty, our students, and the public.
Cuts to student aid are also severe, and disproportionately affect students of color and working class students. The proposal slashes work-study programs, grants for low-income college students, and programs that prepare disadvantaged students for college. It robs Peter to pay Paul by moving $3.9 billion in surplus Pell Grant funds to noneducational uses.
While we aren’t surprised by this proposal--just one in a string of politically motivated attacks on higher education--we are dismayed by it. This is not a design for the world class system of higher education that Americans have come to expect. It is, instead, a design that will undermine the world’s finest system of higher education and further harm low-income college students. It is not in the interest of the American people.
The AAUP has long supported teaching, research, and student access to higher education, including expanding opportunities for students of color. We believe that colleges and universities are a public good and learning and the search for truth are vital for a functioning democracy.