Government Relations

Government Relations Legislative Update

Government Relations Legislative Update

Updates on state and federal issues relating to the UW System.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

FEDERAL UPDATE for February 4, 2010

The Obama Administration released its Fiscal Year 2011 budget request on Monday, February 1.

Education highlights:

The budget calls for a 7.5 percent increase in the amount of discretionary funds devoted to education. Funding for higher education programs (not including Pell Grants) is reduced by 5.8 percent due, primarily, to two major programs -- the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education -- that were zeroed out and reduced respectively. As a result of the reduction in FIPSE, the President is designating $25 million for a new STEM initiative that would identify and validate more effective approaches for attracting, retaining, and teaching undergraduates in these fields.

The budget proposal continues the policies put forth in last year's budget and were also reinforced with the passage of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act in the House. The President's request calls for $34.8 billion for the Pell Grant Program, increasing the Pell Grant maximum from $5,550 to $5,710, and placing the program in a mandatory funding category with annual increases in the maximum award equal to the Consumer Price Index plus 1 percent.

The Administration reiterates its previous call to issue all student loans through the Direct Loan Program, a proposal that is projected to provide savings to the federal government that the President, in turn, uses to pay for new programs in the budget. The proposal calls for an expanded Perkins Loan Program, with increased investment. The budget would provide $6 billion annually for all qualifying institutions to offer low-interest loans to students. It also incorporates a proposal to reduce the current repayment formula from 15 percent to 10 percent, as it relates to income, for certain high-debt individuals leaving school in an effort to reduce the burden for these individuals of paying for college.

The President is calling for the creation of two new programs important to the UW System. The College Access and Completion Initiative would provide $700 million annually to support and initiate programs designed to help student graduate from institutions of higher education. In addition, the American Graduation Initiative provides over $10 billion to institutions of higher education that offer two-year programs, such as UW Colleges.

The Administration is supporting an increase of roughly 5 percent for the Title III, Strengthening Institutions program. The program would receive an increase of $4.2 million, which is good news for UW System institutions which compete for these funds.

The President is requesting level funding for all of the TRIO programs, as well as the GEAR UP program.

Also of note is that the President's proposal signals significant reform of elementary and secondary education programs, especially targeted to revamping teacher programs. The budget includes the reduction of funds for the teacher preparation programs contained in Title II of the Higher Education Act and consolidates the funds and revamps and restructures the programs into the new teacher effectiveness accounts under the elementary and secondary education budget.

Other highlights:

Agriculture: The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program receives a significant increase in funding to a request of $429 million in FY2011 up from $262 million enacted in FY2010.

Department of Defense (Basic Research): The Administration requests funding for the Department of
Defense Basic Research accounts at approximately $2 billion in FY 2011.

Department of Energy: The Administration requests that the Department of Energy Office of Science be funded at $5.121 billion, including $140 million for the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs). The Administration also requests $300 million for the Advanced Research Projects agency for Energy (ARPA-E) and $55 million for the Re-ENERGYSE graduate level education program.

National Institutes of Health: The Administration requests $32.089 billion overall for the National Institutes of health.

National Science Foundation: The Administration requests $7.424 billion overall for the National Science Foundation.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration: The Administration requests significant increases for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Science Mission Directorate and Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. The Fy2011 request for NASA Science is $5.006 billion and for NASA Aeronautics is $1.152 billion.

National Institutes of Standards and Technology: The Administration requests $79 million for the National Institute on Standards and Technology Innovation Program (TIP) and $129.7 million for Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration: The Administration requests $465 million for the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research account in NOAA.

U.S. Agency for International Development: The Administration requests $25 million for the Higher Education in Africa program with $15 million designated for partnerships between U.S. and Africa institutions of higher education. The Administration also requests $31.5 million for the Collaborative Research Support Programs.

This report was compiled by APLU and AASCU with the UW System Office of Federal Relations contributing.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Kris Andrews by phone at 608-263-3362 or by email at