Under the Dome

Former UNC president blasts Trump budget on higher education

Molly Broad, president of the American Council on Education and former UNC president, minced no words in bashing President Donald Trump’s proposed budget
Molly Broad, president of the American Council on Education and former UNC president, minced no words in bashing President Donald Trump’s proposed budget 2005 News & Observer file photo

Molly Broad, president of the American Council on Education and former UNC president, minced no words in bashing President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, which she said could put college out of reach for millions of students.

She said the budget includes drastic cuts to student aid and research funding “of a magnitude not seen in nearly four decades.” Slashing the federal research agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, would slow or stop life-saving advances in medical research, she said.

“If enacted, these reductions would have a devastating impact on the United States’ long-term economic growth and seriously undermine economic opportunity for many low- and middle-income Americans,” Broad said in a prepared statement released Tuesday.

“This budget would result in a dramatic reduction in college affordability and, if approved by Congress, put college out of reach for millions of students,” Broad added. “It would cut grants to many low-income students; make student loans far more expensive; make it more difficult for students to work their way through college; and even take away childcare from low-income students with families. More than 7 million students with family incomes below $40,000 get federal student aid to help them pay for college. There should be no mistake: Deep cuts to student aid will have a modest impact on upper-income families, but it will crush the personal and economic aspirations of low-income and working-class Americans for whom enrolling in college is an opportunity for better jobs and a brighter economic future.”

Broad pointed out that Congress has the ultimate responsibility for setting the United States’ funding levels, and that the 2017 spending bills showed a willingness to reject the president’s proposals. She said colleges and universities will work with Congress on bipartisan support for federal student aid and research funding.

Broad has led the nation’s largest higher education lobbying organization since 2008. In January, she announced that she would retire in October. She was president of the UNC system from 1997 to 2006.

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