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The Trump Administration released its budget blueprint for fiscal year (FY) 2018 on Thursday. The so-called "skinny" budget proposal provides broad, preliminary funding proposals for Cabinet-level departments and several other major agencies. Although it mostly provides top-line numbers, the blueprint provides an initial preview of the new Administration's priorities for federal programs.


As anticipated, the budget request proposes increasing defense spending by $54 billion while reducing non-defense discretionary programs by the same amount. The deep cuts to research and higher education programs across domestic federal agencies are troubling to our community.

It is important to keep in mind that Congress ultimately has the power of the purse and this is only one part of a much longer appropriations process. In addition to Democrats, Republican members of Congress have also questioned certain recommendations. Many of the proposed cuts are not expected to be favorably received by Congress.

What You Should Know

Below is a run-down of some of the budget takeaways. The proposed budget calls for the following:

Department of Education (ED)

  • Cutting a total of $9 billion (13 percent) from ED's budget.
  • Providing flat funding for the discretionary portion of the Pell Grant program while rescinding $3.9 billion from the current Pell Grant surplus.
  • Reducing Federal Work-Study (FWS) "significantly." FWS provides students the opportunity to earn additional aid through part-time employment on campus and in the community.
  • Reducing the GEAR UP and TRIO programs – ED’s college preparation and support programs for low-income students – by a total of $193 million.
  • Eliminating the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, a "campus-based" program for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.
  • Eliminating or reducing more than 20 categorical programs "that do not address national needs, duplicate other programs, or are more appropriately supported with State, local, or private funds," including Title VI International Education programs.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

  • Reducing National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding by $5.8 billion to $25.9 billion. This large proposed cut will face significant opposition, given the strong bipartisan support for the agency and ongoing efforts to increase funding.
  • Consolidating the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
  • Cutting $403 million in health professions and nursing training programs from the Health Resources Services Administration's (HRSA) Title VII and Title VIII programs.

Department of Energy (DOE)

  • Reducing DOE-Office of Science funding by approximately $900 million.
  • Eliminating funding for ARPA-E.

Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  • Providing "about $350 million" for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), USDA’s flagship competitive research program. AFRI received $350 million in FY2016, so it would remain flat under this proposal.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)/National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

  • Eliminating funding for both the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts. Click here to read a response from the NEH Chairman.
Other Things to Note

There are numerous agencies that were not mentioned in the budget blueprint, including the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, and DOD science and technology programs. The Administration is expected to issue a more traditional, comprehensive budget proposal in May, which will provide many more details, including the budget justification documents that appropriators reference while crafting their individual spending bills.

U of I Advocacy

OGR will be actively communicating the University of Illinois System's concerns about the proposed harmful cuts, working with members of the Illinois congressional delegation and beyond. We also will be working closely with our national higher education associations on collective advocacy efforts and identifying additional opportunities to convey the importance of our research and higher education priorities. As mentioned in our last e-newsletter, we recently began a robust process to articulate our FY2018 appropriations requests. We will keep beating that drum. 

Below are links to the statements made by our higher ed associations in response to the budget:

If you have any questions, or would like a copy of the analysis issued by Lewis-Burke Associates, please contact Melissa Haas.

UI Health on the Hill

While in DC for an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) meeting, Amy Sagen – who serves as Assistant Director for Health Policy and Strategy – represented the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health) on the Hill. She discussed UI Health's concerns with proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including the American Health Care Act, and the impact the bill may have on UI Health and its patients. She also urged the Illinois delegation to support the NIH.


Thank you,

Melissa Haas | Acting Director | OGR Federal Relations