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The Trump Budget and Community Colleges

Community colleges are less dependent upon Congress than other sectors of higher education, but the recent release of President Trump’s “skinny budget” (offering a brief outline) has attracted the attention of two-year college educators.

Of prime importance is federal financial aid programs for students, most notably Pell Grants. You can find these concerns outlined in an article in Community College Daily. Participation in the Pell program at community colleges varies with each school. Many educators were urging that Pell Grants be expanded to include summer terms. Now this scenario appears unlikely. Of course Congress must enact all proposals, including those from the president, in order for anything to take effect.

Faculty members are also concerned about the proposal from President Trump—not discussed in the article linked above—that the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities should be eliminated. (Mr. Trump is not the first president to urge the abolishment of the NEA and NEH.) These two agencies are very small, but occasionally draw fire from conservative members of Congress. Both agencies offer grants for community activities in the arts and humanities, which are often matched locally. The NEH summer seminars for college teachers have provided two-year college instructors the opportunity to study and conduct research with noted scholars.

Finally, many educators are watching carefully to see how the Fulbright programs will fare with proposed budget cuts to the State Department. These programs offer scholars and professors opportunities to teach and study abroad.