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FYI Number 99: July 30, 2001

Appropriations Report Language on NSF: Education and Human Resources

As noted in FYIs #97 and 98, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have released their reports accompanying the FY 2002 VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bills. Below is the full report language pertaining to Education and Human Resources from House Report 107-159 and Senate Report 107-43. Readers wishing to view the entire text of both reports may do so here. See FYI #97 for additional discussion of education issues in the reports' sections on Research and Related Activities. House and Senate appropriators will meet to decide on final language before a final vote is taken on this legislation in both chambers.

HOUSE REPORT

"For fiscal year 2002, the Committee recommends $885,720,000, an increase of $98,368,000 above last year's appropriated level and $13,313,00 above the budget request.

"The Committee's recommendation includes program levels of $75,000,000 for the EPSCoR program, $27,000,000 for the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program, and $17,000,000 for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities--Undergraduate Program, all of which are increases above the budget request.

"The Committee remains impressed with the continued success of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Development Grant program. The Committee recognizes that further expansion of the program may be warranted given the unmistakable contributions HBCUs have made and realizes that some assessment of these contributions is needed first. The Committee therefore recommends that up to $1,000,000 be used by NSF for an independent, thorough analysis of the economic impact of HBCUs in their surrounding communities, which will serve as a starting point for future enhancement of the HBCU Development Grant Program.

"In addition to providing the budget request of $200,000,000 for the new Math and Science Partnerships Program, the Committee's recommendation includes $5,000,000 for Teacher Research Scholarships and $5,000,000 for Noyce Scholarships, both of which are intended to be provided in a manner consistent with and as described in `The Mathematics and Science Partnerships Act,' H.R. 1858.

"The Committee recognizes the important role that community colleges play in providing accessible, quality educational opportunities to the public, promoting community and economic development, and enhancing the quality of life for our Nation. The Committee recognizes previous efforts at the National Science Foundation to improve its partnership with community colleges. However, the Committee encourages the National Science Foundation to further strengthen its outreach to community colleges and to strive to better emphasize the involvement of community colleges in its activities. The Committee expects that the expenditure of National Science Foundation resources will better reflect the expanding role of community colleges in helping the National Science Foundation achieve its goals.

"The Committee acknowledges the importance of the ATE program and encourages the Foundation to consider it among the priorities when allocating additional funds provided by the Congress. "Similarly, the Foundation may, through a competitive, merit-based process, provide to a consortium composed of community colleges a grant for the purpose of carrying out a pilot project to provide support to encourage women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to enter and complete programs in science, engineering, and technology."

SENATE REPORT

"The Committee recommends an appropriation of $872,407,000 for education and human resources. This amount is $86,787,000 more than the fiscal year 2001 level and equal to the request.

"The Committee is supportive of the new Math and Science Partnerships program, but only to the extent it actually builds on and includes the local, urban and rural systemic reform, and teacher and student development programs currently being supported by NSF. The Committee recommends a total of $190,000,000 for this program; $130,000,000 is provided in this appropriation and the remainder is to be derived from the H-1B Nonimmigrant Petitioner Receipts the agency receives for Private-Public Partnerships in K-12 education. The Committee directs the Foundation to submit a report with the fiscal year 2002 operating plan that outlines how the educational systemic reform and elementary and secondary education efforts will be supported within this new program. The report should also include a management plan that reflects advice from the education directorate's advisory committee and policy direction from the National Science Board.

"In last year's report the Committee expressed its deep disappointment that the Administration had attempted to terminate the Office of Innovation Partnerships. The Committee reversed that proposal and funded the OIP at $10,000,000. Regrettably, once again the Administration has proposed the termination of this innovative program which is designed to enhance technology transfer activities as well as assist the needs of smaller research institutions. The Committee is adamant that the Foundation should support this effort and has provided $15,000,000 for reinstatement and growth of this program. In addition, the Committee is providing $85,000,000 for the EPSCoR program in this account. This is $10,000,000 above the request. An additional $25,000,000 in co-funding for EPSCoR is provided through the research and related activities account bringing the total amount available for NSF EPSCoR activities to a level of $110,000,000. The Committee encourages NSF to consider an application from Rhode Island to qualify for the EPSCoR program.

"The Committee remains troubled by the declining supply of scientists and engineers being produced in this country. Industry is becoming more dependent on foreign workers to fill their workforce needs due to declining interest among students to enter science and engineering. To assist in addressing this problem, within the undergraduate education subactivity, $20,000,000 is added specifically for a new undergraduate workforce initiative. The Committee expects NSF to use these additional funds to establish a new merit-based, competitive grants program for colleges and universities for increasing the number of undergraduate degree recipients in science and engineering. The types of projects NSF should support include undergraduate traineeships; targeted mentoring relationships for students for under-represented groups; internships offered in partnership with industry; and innovative uses of digital technologies particularly at institutions serving economically disadvantaged students. NSF should submit a report outlining how it will proceed with this new program as part of the its fiscal year 2002 operating plan.

"Continuing with the workforce theme, the Committee concurs with the priority the Foundation has attached to increasing financial support for graduate students. Increasing stipends within the NSF graduate education programs is one strategy to attract more U.S. citizens to graduate education in science and engineering. Currently, the average stipend level for graduate education in science and engineering is less than half the average wage for bachelor's degree recipients. This wide disparity may be a significant factor in declining graduate school enrollments for science and engineering. A recent survey found that 57 percent of baccalaureate recipients did not apply to science and engineering graduate programs for financial reasons. This is particularly true for under-represented minorities. Therefore, the Committee has increased the graduate education subactivity request by $15,000,000. These additional funds are to be used to increase the stipends for graduate students by nearly 20 percent to a level of $21,500.

"The Committee is not in accord with the Foundation's proposal to freeze funding for women, minorities, and other under-represented groups in science and engineering. Therefore, the Committee recommends an increase of $10,000,000 for the human resource development subactivity, of which $8,000,000 is to establish an initiative that will stimulate the competitive research capacity of historically black colleges and universities that provide doctoral degrees in science and engineering; and $2,000,000 is to augment the ongoing Historically Black Colleges and Universities-Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) to $16,000,000. An additional $4,000,000 from the research and related activities appropriations account is also to be available for the HBCU-UP program. The Committee is aware the current program solicitation restricts eligibility to certain institutions. The Committee strongly believes the HBCU-UP program should be open to all HBCU's that offer degrees in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.

"The Committee strongly supports the Foundation's Tribal Colleges program. The Committee understands that in the fiscal year 2001 competition, the Foundation included Alaskan Native serving institutions and Native Hawaiian serving institutions as eligible entities to receive funds from this program. The Committee appreciates the Foundation's assistance in helping these entities and expects it to continue this policy."


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