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President Trump's Budget Calls for Cuts to Nursing Programs

Analysis  |  By Jennifer Thew RN  
   February 13, 2020

Steep reductions to nursing workforce, education, and research are proposed.

In its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget, released February 10, the Trump administration proposes steep cuts to and the elimination of essential nursing programs under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Education.  

Under the new budget, the majority of Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs would be eliminated with the exception of the Nurse Corps program, which would receive $83.135 million. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health would face a nearly $3 billion proposed cut. This includes cutting the National Institute of Nursing Research's (NINR) budget down to $156.804 million in FY 2021. These reduced funding levels are about a 9% overall cut to HHS.
"Federal funding for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs is essential to our nursing schools, students, and the profession. Without adequate funding for these programs, the health and well-being of all Americans will suffer," Ann Cary, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, FNAP, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Chair of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Board of Directors, says in a news release.
The budget also proposes a 7.8% reduction in the Department of Education's budget and lowering of caps on lifetime loan limits for PLUS student loan programs, which could hinder American's ability to access higher education, including those pursing nursing degrees. The budget also eliminates the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need.

According to the AACN news release, the association says support for institutions of higher education must be maintained and elevated to ensure healthcare workforce, including nurses, is adequately prepared to care for patients in all communities, including those in rural and underserved areas.  
"Investments in academic nursing and the workforce are necessary to ensure that the nurses educated today are ready for the challenges of tomorrow," says Deborah Trautman, PhD, RN, FAAN, President and Chief Executive Officer of AACN in a news release. "The proposed cuts would significantly hamper the nursing profession's ability to educate and retain a qualified workforce."
According to a news release, the AACN strongly opposes the budget's reductions it views them as undermining the federal government's longstanding commitment to educating the future nursing workforce to meet the healthcare needs of the nation.

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.

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