We are grateful for the President’s consistent and continuing support for better higher education funding. While the proposed budget falls short of meeting our country’s real needs in higher education, we applaud the Administration’s efforts to maintain and expand programs under difficult budgetary circumstances. We are particularly pleased by the proposed permanent extension of the American Opportunity Tax Credits, by expansion of income-based repayment options, and by the changes to tax treatment of loan forgiveness benefits.
We appreciate the Administration’s funding choices but we are alarmed by some of the proposed policy changes. These range from the mechanical—and highly manipulable—metrics suggested as qualification criteria for the new State Higher Education Performance (SHEP) Fund to additional restrictions on Pell recipients. These restrictions would subject recipients to different, federalized academic policies than those governing non-Pell students. We believe policy changes affecting millions of students should only be implemented after extensive analysis and public hearings, not through the annual budget process.
We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to advance our shared goal of broad and equitable access to higher education for all Americans.
AASCU is a Washington-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.