March 15, 2007

More political wrangling over college funding

Posted in Student Loan News at 7:37 AM by Joe From Boston

They’re at it again. President Bush wants to cut $760 million from government programs that help fund colleges and universities, in order to pay for closing and refurbishing military bases – something the president did not do during the Republican-led Congress of the past 6 years. To me, this just smacks of political infighting and a complete disregard for our students. Read the article in the Chronicle of Higher Education – a paid subscription may be necessary.

Bush Plan to Cut College Programs Is Considered a Dead Letter in Congress

President Bush has proposed slashing $760-million from programs that benefit colleges this year and using the savings to help cover a $3.1-billion shortfall in a program for closing and renovating military bases. But the proposal is considered dead on arrival in Congress.

Lawmakers, who would have to consent to the plan, have a long history of ignoring such requests, viewing them as interference with their power of the purse. The cuts would reduce appropriations that Congress approved only last month, to finance federal programs for the remainder of the 2007 fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

Congress’s Democratic leaders have already said that they plan to provide money for the military bases in a supplementary appropriations bill for 2007. Before the Democrats won control of Congress, in November, Mr. Bush never proposed such cuts to any appropriations bills approved by the Republican-run Congress.

The higher-education programs singled out by Mr. Bush, in a memorandum released on Friday, include several that he has proposed reducing in his budgets for 2008 and past years, but that Congress has chosen to finance anyway.

He wants to cut $381.0-million from Career and Technical Education State Grants and eliminate $104.8-million for Tech-Prep State Grants; both programs support vocational and technical education offered by community colleges. He would eliminate the entire $65.0-million budget for the Leveraging Educational Assistance Program, which encourages states to match federal dollars for need-based student aid. In addition, he would eliminate the Commerce Department’s Advanced Technology Program, which provides grants for teams of businesses and universities to develop new technologies for commercial use. And he would cut almost in half spending for the Agriculture Department’s Hatch Act grant program, which supports research by land-grant universities.

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