Sequester At A Glance: Impact of the Reckless Cuts on Education

For Immediate Release:

March 7, 2013

Continued refusal by the Republican leadership to stop the sequester has resulted in the reckless, across-the-board spending cuts going into effect. One of the areas that could be impacted by these irrational cuts are education and job readiness programs that invest in our future.  Here’s a closer look at how the sequester could affect education and youth programs as the impact of these cuts takes effect over the next few weeks and months:

The Facts:

Youth Education

Higher Education

  • The Marines have announced they have stopped their Military Education Tuition Assistance Program immediately as a result of the sequester, which could make it more difficult for active-duty Marines to afford to further their education. [Navy Live, 3/2]
  • Funding for federal work study grants could be cut by $49 million and supplemental education opportunity grants could be cut by $37 million, both of which could affect students’ financial aid. [ABC News, 2/28
  • Student Loans: Origination fees on Stafford and PLUS loans could go up on July 1 for more than 10 million students who use them to pay for college [College Board, National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs]
  • More than 100,000 students could lose major portions of their financial aid, and millions more could see their aid reduced by up to $876 a year. [Student Aid Alliance, 1/21]

Teachers and Staff

  • Funding for up to 7,200 special education teachers, aides and staff could be cut. [White House]
  • The Pentagon says it could be forced to furlough 15,000 military school teachers and staff around the world, with teachers being forced to take a day off each week. [POLITICO, 3/4]
  • Title I reductions could put the jobs of approximately 10,000 teachers and aides at risk. [White House]
  • The Impact Aid Basic Support Payments program could lose $60 million under sequestration[Secretary of Education, 2/14], significantly impacting 1,600 schools on Indian reservations and military bases [Washington Post, 3/5]. 
  • Community and faith based organizations, small businesses, local governments and school systems could have to lay off over 14,000 teachers, teacher assistants and other staff. [White House]

From The Experts:

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: “So while we are having this conversation about fewer teachers, fewer school days, less opportunities to go to Head Start, less ability to pay for college, other nations, this is not how they are looking to improve their education system. This is not the conversation that is happening with our competitors in Singapore, in South Korea, in China, in India. … For us to be thinking about taking steps backwards in all of these areas because folks in Washington cannot get their act together, and a level of dysfunction in Congress that, it is just… unimaginable to me. I cannot tell you how troubling that is to me.” [Voice of America, 2/27]

National Educational Association President Dennis Van Roekel: “The real consequences of the budget cuts—fewer educators, reading coaches, ballooning class sizes, and no after-school tutoring—are keeping educators and students up at night, and they are causing uncertainty and angst as school districts are making budgetary decisions for the upcoming school year. Most immediately, the cuts are jeopardizing the education of the daughters and sons of those who protect our nation—the women and men in uniform—as school districts on military bases here and abroad will feel the pinch first. As a nation, we can and should do better than to shortchange them.” [NEA, 3/1]

Wall Street Journal Columnist David Wessel: “…unless we are finding a better way to fix our K through 12 schools, unless we are solving the problems of inefficiency and high tuitions at the higher education level, we will not have a lot of workers who are poised to get the jobs. They'll be the good jobs in the future. And so the concern is that short-term belt tightening and political paralysis may have long-lived effects if they prevent us from taking advantage of the opportunities in the future….” [NPR, 7/18]

STEM Center Collaboratory Directors Lauren Birney and Jonathan Hill: “Instead of investing in our children’s future, the spending cuts would hurt students of all ages across the United States. The indiscriminate cuts would slash funding that helps some of our youngest children succeed, cut funding for teachers, and reduce grants and work-study programs. Among other education programs, the sequester would cut more than $400 million from Head Start, a program that provides at-risk preschoolers with education, health, nutrition, and family-support services. These cuts would force roughly 70,000 young children out of the Head Start program.” [The Hill, 2/28]

Student Aid Alliance: “If Congress goes forward with the mandated cuts, students who get federal aid could lose up to $876 a year. We call this situation the ‘student fiscal cliff.’ ... If Congress doesn’t act to prevent a 6 percent cut to the student aid programs, more than 100,000 students could lose major portions of their financial aid, and millions more will see their aid reduced. Students have given again and again to help balance the budget. In fact in just the last few years, over $35 billion in student aid has been eliminated.” [Student Aid Alliance, 1/21]

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