- AAU, APLU Ask OMB to Prioritize Research, Higher Education Funding in FY19
- Budget and Tax Update
- Associations Urge House Leadership to Oppose the FY18 Budget Resolution
- AAU Releases Five-Year Status Report on Undergraduate STEM Initiative
- Administration Nominates Education Department Deputy Secretary
AAU, APLU ASK OMB TO PRIORITIZE RESEARCH, HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING IN FY19
AAU and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) asking that the administration’s FY19 budget materials support robust funding for higher education and research.
The letter calls for funding increases of at least four percent a year for research programs in 10 federal agencies—as recommended in Restoring the Foundation, a 2014 report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences—as well as strengthened support for the Department of Education’s international education and Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need programs.
Earlier this year, OMB and the Office of Science and Technology Policy jointly released a memo on the Administration’s FY19 research and development (R&D) priorities, which include military superiority, security, prosperity, energy dominance, and health. The memo directs agencies to increase efficiencies by modifying or eliminating programs that could progress “more efficiently through private sector R&D,” and to prioritize basic and early-stage applied research the private sector may later transform into commercial products. It also notes that achieving these goals should be done without additional funding.
BUDGET AND TAX UPDATE
In advance of yesterday’s floor vote, AAU today joined 19 other higher education associations in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to express opposition to the House FY18 budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 71). The letter notes the budget would “unnecessarily cut funding to the programs that educate our workforce and drive scientific and technological innovation.” The letter also states the budget would undercut recent congressional action to strengthen the Pell Grant program. The House approved its budget by a vote of 219-206, with 18 Republicans voting against.
The Senate budget was approved by in committee yesterday by a vote of 12-11, with reports indicating a floor vote will happen within two weeks. The Senate budget adheres to Budget Control Act (BCA) spending caps of $549 billion in base defense and $516 billion for nondefense discretionary spending. The House version exceeds the defense BCA cap by providing $621.5 billion, and sets nondefense discretionary spending at $511 billion, $5 billion below the FY18 cap.
Both budget resolutions contain tax reconciliation instructions setting the stage for tax reform. However, the House and Senate budgets approach tax reconciliation instructions differently. The Senate version allows up to a $1.5 trillion deficit increase over 10 years, but the House version does not allow any deficit increases. Before tax-writing committees in either chamber can begin drafting legislation, the House and Senate will need to resolve differences.
AAU RELEASES FIVE-YEAR STATUS REPORT ON UNDERGRADUATE STEM INITIATIVE
On Tuesday, AAU released a five-year status report highlighting institutional progress toward improving the quality of STEM teaching and learning. The report provides detailed analysis of STEM educational reforms at each of the eight seed-funded AAU STEM project sites. Inside Higher Ed on Monday profiled the report and the Initiative’s impact. AAU has committed to extend the initial five-year undergraduate STEM effort indefinitely by integrating continued support for STEM education reform.
ADMINISTRATION NOMINATES EDUCATION DEPARTMENT DEPUTY SECRETARY
The administration on Tuesday night announced it will nominate Mitchell “Mick” Zais to serve as deputy secretary of the Education Department. Before most recently serving as superintendent of South Carolina schools, Zais served as president of Newberry College for 10 years. He holds a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington. Zais’ nomination will require Senate confirmation.