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White House Responds to the Ryan Budget’s Impact on Education

The White House held a press call with reporters this afternoon to make its case against the Ryan budget plan. While most of the call focused on how the GOP budget plan would be “ending Medicare as we know it” and bringing in cuts to discretionary spending that rival Eisenhower-era commitments, the differences in education spending between the Ryan plan and what the White House proposes were also highlighted.

According to Roberto Rodriguez, special assistant to the president for education policy, the Ryan budget plan would:

  • Cut $1.5 billion in funding for Head Start, thus denying access to some 200,000 children to the early child education program. Approximately 12,000 children would be removed from Head Start rolls in Florida, 11,000 in Michigan, and 23,000 in Texas. These cuts would contrast with the program’s  expansion to serve an additional 61,000 children.
  • On Title I spending, definitive figures weren’t mentioned. Rodriguez said the Ryan budget plan could deny resources to over 9,000 schools serving 3.8 million students. Some 38,000 teachers and aides could lose their jobs, as well.
  • Within higher education, the Ryan budget plan would reduce the size of the student work-study program by 19 percent, Rodriguez said. In real numbers, some 166,000 college and university students would lose access to the program. The president has proposed expanding the program to double its current size. Rodriguez said 6,000 students in Illinois would lose access to federal work-study funds, while that number would grow to 13,000 in New York, and affect 3,000 students in Wisconsin.
  • Pell Grant recipients would be affected by the Ryan plan, as well, according to Rodriguez. Nearly 9.6 million students would endure cuts of more than $1,000 by 2014. In the coming years, one million students would lose access completely (a White House press release that was issued after the phone-in gave a lower figure of 900,000). Rodriguez said average per student Pell Grant cuts in Nevada would reach $800, while in Virginia that figure would be $850. Rodriguez said college tuition and fees have risen 136 percent in the past 20 years.  Here are NCES’s calculations on tuition increases going back three decades.

 According to College Board, while state appropriations for full-time students grew by 5 percent in 1980s and 6 percent in the 1990s, they’ve declined by 23 percent between 2000-01 and 2010-11.



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