Federal cuts could mean more student debt

Jack Belcher, Senior News Reporter

A new proposal by the federal government outlines a plan to cut $3.6 billion in annual funding from the U.S. Department of Education, according to a report by the Washington Post. The cuts could increase students’ cost of education by more than $200 billion over the next decade, according to Provost Katherine Frank.

“As we consider the potential impact of these cuts, it is critical to recall that America’s commitment to public education has made us the world’s leader in innovation and prosperity,” Frank said in a statement.

The proposal includes a plan to combine multiple income-driven repayment plans (IDR) into a single plan. This plan by itself cuts nearly $130 billion from the U.S. Department of Education.

It will also increase the amounthow much both undergraduate and graduate students have to pay each month by 12.5 percent of their income, while also shortening the payment period to 15 years for undergraduates. Graduate students however would have their repayment period increased to 30 years.

“At a time, when millions of students are struggling under the crushing burden of student debt, it speaks volumes that President Trump and Secretary Betsy DeVos are proposing $200 billion in cuts to financial aid. This is a complete 180 from the agreement Republicans and Democrats made last week,” Senator Patty Murray, ranking Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a statement to the Washington Post.

The justification stated  in the budget as to why the IDRs are to be consolidated is to simplify the process.

“In recent years, IDR plans, which offer student borrowers the option of making affordable monthly payments based on factors such as income and family size, have grown in popularity. However, the numerous IDR plans currently offered to borrowers overly complicate choosing and enrolling in the right plan,” the budgeting plan stated.