DC Digest - February 5, 2010
In Today's Issue:
- President Obama Releases FY11 Budget Request
- Senator Scott Brown Names Duke Alum as Chief of Staff
- Lobbying Imperils Overhaul of Student Loans
- OPINION: Rising College Costs: A Federal Role?
- Duke Researcher Testifies for House Committee on Science & Technology
PRESIDENT OBAMA RELEASES FY11 BUDGET REQUEST
On Monday, President Barack Obama unveiled his budget for the 2011 fiscal year. Despite his proposal to freeze discretionary domestic spending, the President maintained his commitment to invest in education, research, and innovation, requesting significant funding for research and student aid
Robert M. Berdhal, president of the Association of American Universities (AAU), remarked, "This budget underscores the President’s strong conviction that the nation’s investments in the people and ideas that lead to discovery and innovation are critical to short-term economic recovery and, especially, to long-term economic prosperity. Congressional leaders have displayed a similar commitment, and it is our hope that Congress will sustain the momentum for funding of key research and financial aid programs."
Key provisions of the Administration's FY11 Budget are below:
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The President's FY11 budget requests $32 billion for NIH, a $1 billion, or 3.2 percent, increase over FY10. This increase is the largest proposed dollar and percentage increase for biomedical research in eight years, not including last year’s Recovery Act funding.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
The fiscal year 2011 budget request for NSF is $7.424 billion, an increase of $551.8 million, or 8 percent over the FY 10 enacted amount of $6.872 billion. According to the budget request, “This budget fully funds the President’s Plan for Science and Innovation by providing NSF with $552 million over the 2010 enacted level, and maintains the Administration’s commitment to doubling funding for key basic research agencies.”
Department of Defense (DoD) *
*Due to DoD budget procedures whereby nearly all congressionally designated S&T add-ons and earmarks contained in the previous year’s funding billhis are eliminated, analysis compares the Administration's budget for FY11 with the FY10 budget request, not FY10 final funding levels.
The FY11 budget would provide $2.0 billion for Defense 6.1 Basic Research programs, which is $200.5 million, or 11.1 percent, more than was requested for basic research in FY10. Basic research represents 16.9 percent of the total proposed FY11 budget for Defense S&T (compared to the FY10 figure of 15.4 percent, the FY09 figure of 14.8 percent, and the FY08 figure of 13.3 percent).
Department of Energy (DOE)
The Department of Energy (DOE) is requesting $28.4 billion in discretionary budget authority for FY11, which includes funding for the department's energy research, science, environmental management, and defense programs. This represents an increase of $1.8 billion, or 6.8 percent, over the FY10 level of 26.6 billion.
The funding request for the DOE Office of Science is $5.1 billion, an increase of $218 million, or 4.4 percent, above the FY10 funding level. The FY10 budget request for the DOE Office of Science would:
Enable approximately 26,000 researchers from universities, national laboratories, and industry to use DOE scientific facilities in FY11;
Support about 27,000 PhDs, postdoctoral researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, and technicians in FY11; and
Support investigators at more than 300 academic institutions and from all DOE national laboratories.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The President's FY11 budget request for NASA is $19 billion, an increase of $276 million, or 1.5 percent, over the FY10 enacted amount of $18.7 billion. While this is a small increase for the space agency, the Obama Administration has pledged to increase funding for NASA by $6 billion over the next five years (FY11- FY15).
Department of Education - Student Aid
The FY11 budget says that the combination of Department of Education student aid funding and selected tax benefits will increase federal student aid to nearly $173 billion in FY11, an increase of almost $68 billion (64 percent).
Pell Grants: Mirroring the FY10 budget request, the Administration proposes to turn the Pell Grant into a full entitlement. By providing an additional $17.3 billion for the grants, funding would rise to $34.8 billion in FY11. This increase would help make the program available to an additional one million students (for a total of 8.7 million) and increase the maximum grant award to $5,710, an increase of $160 from the current maximum grant of $5,550. The maximum grant would then rise by the rate of inflation plus one percentage point annually over the next decade (as also proposed in the FY10 budget). The FY11 budget assumes $68 billion over 10 years would come from the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), a bill that has been passed in the House but has not yet been introduced in the Senate.
Perkins Loans: The FY11 budget supports the pending SAFRA legislation that would create a new Perkins program. The new program would provide $6 billion in new loan volume, with loans serviced by the Department of Education, and is estimated to save $5.5 billion over 10 years.
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG): The budget would provide $757 million for SEOG, the same level as FY10.
Federal Work-Study: The budget would provide $980 million for this program, the same level as FY10.
Other Higher Education Programs: The FY11 budget would flat-fund Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) at $31 million, supporting 702 fellowships through competitive grants to institutions of higher education. Javits fellowships would also be flat-funded, supporting 218 fellowships with $9.7 million. International Education and Foreign Language Studies (IEFLS) would be flat-funded at $125.9 million.
Full budget details and AAU summaries available here. (AAU.edu)
SENATOR SCOTT BROWN NAMES DUKE ALUM AS CHIEF OF STAFF
Senator-elect Scott Brown has hired a Duke alum as his chief of staff. Steven Schrage will oversee the Republican's offices in Washington and Massachusetts. Schrage has been working in Washington at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a policy institution whose board includes Henry Kissinger. Schrage's recent work has focused on how America can create new jobs, rebuild the military and compete in the global economy following the recession. Schrage grew up in a military family and did MBA and doctoral studies at Harvard Business School. He is also an honors graduate of Duke University and of the University of Michigan Law School.
LOBBYING IMPERILS OVERHAULS OF STUDENT LOANS
Four months ago, it appeared all but certain that the White House and Democrats in Congress would succeed in overhauling the student loan business and ending government subsidies to private lenders. But an aggressive lobbying campaign by the nation’s biggest student lenders has now put one of the White House’s signature plans in peril, with lenders using sit-downs with lawmakers, town-hall-style meetings and petition drives to plead their case and stay in business.
House and Senate aides say that the administration’s plan faces a far tougher fight than it did last fall, when the House passed its version. The fierce attacks from the lending industry, the Massachusetts election that cost the Democrats their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and the fight over a health care bill have all damaged the chances for the student loan measure. But, said the aides, the administration had recognized the threat and was beginning to push back in an effort to get the plan approved.
Lobbying Imperils Overhaul of Student Loans
OPINION: RISING COLLEGE COSTS: A FEDERAL ROLE?
Is there a connection between federal education aid and the inflation rate in higher education? More broadly, what can Washington do, if anything, to improve the effectiveness of its programs and reduce the costs of college?
In Wednesday's New York Times higher education and policy experts debate the above questions.
Rising College Costs: A Federal Role?
DUKE RESEARCHER TESTIFIES BEFORE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
As the DC Digest reported last week, Dr. Robert Jackson, professor of biology, testified this week before the House Committee on Science & Technology as part of a three-part hearing on geoengineering. Dr. Jackson gave his testimony entitled "Biological and Land-Based Strategies for Geoengineering Earth's Climate."
A copy of Dr. Jackson's testimony can be found here.