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President Donald Trump in the Oval Office

Photo Credit: White House Photographer Shealah Craighead / Flickr

On Monday, Feb. 10, the White House released its budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year. The $4.8 trillion proposal, similar to previous ones the Trump administration has produced, includes cuts to several federal programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid, as well as to spending on education and research.

For the University, however, these proposed reductions in funding for education and research could be cause for concern. 

On Monday, the University retweeted a press release on the budget proposal from the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization of 65 research universities that includes the University and all seven other Ivy League institutions. According to the organization’s mission statement, its member universities “collectively help shape policy for higher education, science, and innovation.” 

In the press release, AAU President Mary Sue Coleman wrote that the proposal “reduce[s] investments in student aid and vital scientific research at the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies” and “drastically cut[s] or end[s] several Education Department student aid programs including Federal Work-Study, the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.” 

In an email to The Daily Princetonian, University Spokesperson Ben Chang confirmed that the University shared the AAU’s concerns, adding that the University will be working with the New Jersey congressional delegation and other congressional members “to ensure that the final budget provides robust investments in education and research funding.”

The release also decried the planned elimination of agencies like the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. 

The budget would eliminate 11 Department of Education programs deemed “ineffective or redundant” by the Administration. Other eliminated programs were deemed either “duplicative,” meaning their role was being fulfilled by another agency, or without a “proper federal role.”

President Donald Trump’s Budget Message notes that the new budget “sets the course for a future of continued American dominance and prosperity.” The cuts, including those to various education- and research-related programs, come as part of an effort “to reduce wasteful, unnecessary spending, and to fix mismanagement and redundancy across agencies.”

According to the press release, the planned cuts “could harm America’s position as the world’s leader in research, science, and higher education.” 

“For our nation to maintain its position as a leader in global innovation, it is imperative that America reinvest in the government-supported research and the government-university partnership that have made our nation and its universities, laboratories, technology, and economy the envy of the world,” Coleman wrote. 

At the time of publication, the AAU did not respond to request for comment. 

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