SEIU Local 500 member Dee Dee McCaffrey, an administrative secretary at Diamond Elementary School in Montgomery County, Md., is struggling with the explosive cost of college tuition. Trump’s budget puts the dream of higher education out of reach for millions, including dedicated public servants, by stealing $3.9 billion from the Pell Grant reserve fund and freezes the maximum award so inflation will chip away at the program’s effectiveness. It eliminates the $700 million low-interest Perkins loans and begins to eliminate in-school subsidized loans for student borrowers while they’re still in college; shifting $27 billion in costs to students. Trump’s budget proposal also cuts federal work-study programs by almost half ($490 million), and eliminates the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program for faculty, social workers and others who dedicate their life to public service.
“I have been a single parent since 2003, working for the Montgomery County Health Department for five years and Montgomery County Public Schools for the past 13 years. After getting all four of my children through college, I have roughly $88,000 in parent loans. My current loan payments are $745 per month.
“I’ve timed the 10 years of required on-time payments to coincide with my retirement in 2027. I love my job and serving my community but without the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, I couldn’t afford a career in public education. I would never be able to retire.
“Our government needs to honor the commitment made to the parents and students who have so diligently worked to benefit the public. Trump’s proposed budget makes it hard for families like mine to afford a college education for our children. We must continue to honor parents and students who have made a commitment to public service.”