WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten on President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ cuts to higher education:
“President Trump’s higher education cuts are cruel and callous to students, and they betray our responsibility to enable opportunity for young people and provide a path for them to achieve their dreams. It is especially catastrophic to lower-income students and those aspiring to public service, while serving as a windfall for loan companies, debt collectors and those seeking to profit off of education.
“Ending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, in which half a million Americans are already enrolled, is unconscionable. To pull the rug out from the tens of millions of PSLF-eligible Americans who are not enrolled, despite claiming student debt is an albatross around students’ necks, is the height of hypocrisy. This program is an equalizer in an era of skyrocketing college costs and a tool to improve public services; it corrects for budget cuts, lagging salaries and underinvestment in the public service workforce; increases teacher diversity; and helps ensure well-qualified nurses stay in rural hospitals.
“Slashing work-study programs that help students work their way through school, ending subsidized loans for students, and ripping away grant funding for 1.6 million students with exceptional financial needs, betrays not only Americans hoping to join the middle class, but also the economy, which needs qualified workers to grow.
“This budget even goes after programs like CCAMPIS (Child Care Access Means Parents in School), which provides child care for college students with kids. Cutting such programs will only escalate the cycle of low-wage work and poverty.
“And withdrawing support for career and technical education programs undermines not only students—like those at Transit Tech High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.—hoping to join the skilled workforce, but also the administration’s own rhetoric on apprenticeships and its apparent infrastructure goals.
“Make no mistake, we will fight for America’s students and the opportunities they deserve, and against this callous federal budget proposal.”