President Trump recently submitted his FY2018 budget request to Congress, requesting $59 billion in discretionary funding for education, a decrease of $9 billion, or 13 percent, below FY2017 levels. Secretary Betsy DeVos emphasized in a statement: “President Trump is committed to ensuring the Department focuses on returning decision-making power back to the states, where it belongs, and on giving parents more control over their child’s education.”
Details of the budget request are available from the DOE, including a press release and a budget summary. Education Secretary DeVos testified on the budget before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Her opening statement is available online.
If federal funding is not reduced, it appears at the very least to be vulnerable and uncertain. The budget is not final – Congress will have to weigh in. Meanwhile, here are five considerations for ed marketers:
- Make friends in the state capitals. If federal funding does decrease, states and districts will be forced to make adjustments. They may make cuts or move money around to sustain current funding levels. Your relationships with state government officials will become increasingly important.
Button up your customer service strategies. You’ve worked hard to secure the business, and collaborating with your customers to ensure successful implementations will help secure renewals.
- Rethink your pilot program. Rather than trying to secure a special pilot here or a trial there, consider that what districts yearn for, regardless of the external funding environment, are comprehensive, sustainable solutions.
- Be accessible. If you are pitching new business to a new district, help your prospective customer know you are with them for the long haul. You can pass a quick longevity test by making your phone number, postal address and social handles easy to find on your website. It shows permanence and emphasizes you’ll be on board should questions or concerns arise.
- Improve interoperability. As Michele Molnar noted in EdWeek Market Brief, the lack of ed tech interoperability costs districts time, money and efficiency – a fact that caused several flashpoints during the 2017 ASU/GSV Summit. Articulate clearly who is responsible for each element of an interoperability plan to ensure seamless sharing of data, content and services among systems and applications.
Our job as ed marketers is to help our clients find ways to achieve their goals. We’re glad to help you prepare a response plan as the next step in your growth process.
To read the previous Education Marketing Action Alert, click here.