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FYI Number 22: February 12, 2007

Science Education in the FY 2008 Budget Request

Federal efforts to improve science and math education would receive a boost under President Bush's FY 2008 budget request, as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative. All divisions within NSF's Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate would receive increases compared with the FY 2007 request. Funding for certain math and science education programs within the Department of Education (DoEd) would also be increased. However, the request for the Math and Science Partnership programs within both NSF and DoEd are equal to the FY 2007 requests.

While the FY 2007 appropriations are not yet finalized, it appears that the Senate is likely to agree to the Continuing Resolution passed by the House (see FYI #14), which holds most programs to FY 2006 funding levels. The CR would increase funding for NSF's Research and Related Activities Directorate over FY 2006, but apparently would maintain NSF's EHR programs at FY 2006 levels.


The FY 2008 request would provide a total of $750.6 million for NSF's EHR Directorate, compared to an FY 2007 request of $716.2 million. This represents an increase of 4.8%, or $34.4 million. The comparable FY 2006 funding level for EHR was $700.3 million. (Note: None of these EHR totals include funding for the EPSCoR program, which the FY08 request proposes to transfer from EHR to Research and Related Activities.) According to NSF budget documents, the programs in NSF's EHR Directorate "respond to the need expressed in the President's American Competitiveness Initiative" with activities to attract and retain people and broaden participation in scientific and technical fields, enhance understanding of how students learn, train highly-qualified teachers, and develop effective curricular materials.

The divisions within EHR would all experience growth over the FY 2007 request:

RESEARCH ON LEARNING IN FORMAL AND INFORMAL SETTINGS: Up 3.5%, or $7.5 million, from $215.0 million to $222.5 million. The comparable FY 2006 appropriation was $215.6 million.

HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT: Up 3.1%, or $4.5 million, from $143.9 million to $148.4 million. The comparable FY 2006 appropriation was $119.8 million.

GRADUATE EDUCATION: Up 5.5%, or $8.9 million, from $160.6 million to $169.5 million. The comparable FY 2006 appropriation was $153.1 million.

Within Graduate Education, support would be provided for an additional 200 graduate fellowships.

UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION: Up 6.8%, or $13.4 million, from $196.8 million to $210.2 million. The comparable FY 2006 appropriation was $211.9 million.

Within Undergraduate Education, the Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program would receive $46.0 million, equal to the FY 2007 request. FY 2006 funding was $63.2 million. Under the FY 2008 request, $29.0 million is intended for new awards. The request states that NSF's MSP program "will coordinate its efforts with other education programs at NSF, the Department of Education, and state-funded efforts."


According to budget documents, the FY 2008 request would provide $397.0 million "to support the American Competitiveness Initiative by strengthening the capacity of our schools to improve instruction in mathematics and science." Requested funding under this initiative would include $125 million each for elementary and middle-school Math Now programs to improve math instruction; $90 million to expand the training of teachers to teach, and opportunities for students to take, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses in science, math, and critical foreign languages; and $25 million for the Adjunct Teacher Corps to enable qualified professionals to teach secondary school courses, with an emphasis on science and math. The requested amounts for these programs are generally equal to the FY 2007 requests.

Math and Science Partnerships: The DoEd MSPs would receive flat funding at $182.1 million, the same as the FY 2007 request and the FY 2006 appropriation.

Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics

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