Appropriations Update: CGS Urges Robust Funding for Scientific Research and Graduate Education Programs

This week, CGS President Suzanne T. Ortega sent a letter to Congressional Leaders urging robust funding for scientific research and graduate education programs for Fiscal Year 2023. The Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE-Office of Science), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other federal research agencies provide essential support to graduate students through core research grants, as well as graduate education programs. CGS writes in the letter, “U.S. graduate education is a strategic national asset the has provided important benefits to our nation, as well as for individuals. Our system of graduate education undergirds the scientific research enterprise that has fostered new knowledge, created cutting-edge technologies, and driven innovation. It is because of these contributions that we strongly encourage robust funding for the nation’s research agencies in fiscal year 2023.” The letter encourages House and Senate Appropriations Committee Members to appropriate $8.8 billion in funding for DOE- Office of Science, $49 billion for NIH, and at least $11 billion for NSF.

CGS recently published Advancing American Research and Innovation, a policy brief that relays the importance of federal investment in agencies that support graduate education and research programs. You can view the policy brief here. CGS also has a Budget and Appropriations page that keeps track of key funding for federal agencies that impact graduate education. You can view the page here.

Members of Congress Oppose EPSCoR Funding Allocation in Bipartisan Innovation Act

A bipartisan and bicameral group of Members of Congress recently sent a letter to Conference Committee Leaders – Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) regarding negotiations to reconcile the differences between the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521) and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USCIA) (S. 1260). According to the letter, Members of Congress oppose provisions in the Senate-passed USICA bill that “would set-aside 20 percent of the total NSF and DOE budgets for the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) activities.” The letter says, “Arbitrarily walling off a sizable percentage of a science agency’s budget from a sizable majority of the country’s research institutions would fundamentally reduce the entire nation’s scientific capacity and damage the research profiles of existing institutions – contrary to the goals of both USICA and the COMPETES Act.”

National Science Board Report on International STEM Talent

The National Science Board recently issued a brief report on the importance of international STEM talent to the U.S. economy. Specifically, the report says that “new data suggests that the U.S. is becoming less attractive to international talent, and that if the country is to remain at the forefront of innovation and discovery: it must proactively and broadly talent and reduce deterrents to studying or working in the U.S.” The report highlights the decline in international student enrollment over the past few years, with a precipitous decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decline in international student enrollments is affecting the ability of academia and industry to hire STEM workers and impacting the research being done at university laboratories.

Senate Committee Approves Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education Nomination

On May 25, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) approved the nomination of Dr. Nasser H. Paydar to be Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the Department of Education. In March 2022, CGS sent a letter of support for Dr. Paydar’s nomination to Senate HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC), and the full Committee Membership. In the letter we said “As Chancellor Emeritus for the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Executive Vice President of Indiana University, Dr. Paydar is a well-respected and longtime member of the higher education community. During his tenure as chancellor of IUPUI and executive vice president at Indiana University, Dr. Paydar advanced key strategic priorities concerning student success, research, and engagement.”  The full Senate must now vote to confirm Dr. Paydar’s nomination to be the next Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.

Department of Energy Announces Support for Historically Underrepresented Groups

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $40 million to provide research opportunities to historically underrepresented groups in STEM and diversify American leadership in the physical and climate sciences. “Leveraging the full potential of American expertise to tackle our biggest challenges will require a diverse, equitable, and broad research community that includes the brilliant voices and minds of historically unrepresented groups,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This investment will provide hands-on experience to our nation’s future scientists to unlock the climate solutions that hold the key to a safer and cleaner future for all Americans.” Funding Opportunity Announcements, sponsored by the respective programs within the Department’s Office of Science, as well as information about each associated webinar, can be found here.

ICE Clarifies Continuation of March 2020 Guidance for the 2022-23 Academic Year

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released guidance regarding the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The notice clarifies that the guidance only applies to nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9, 2020 and have continuously complied with the terms of their nonimmigrant status. Students who enrolled after March 9, 2020, must adhere to SEVP’s existing regulations regarding online learning, which can be found here.

Department of Education Announces Application Deadlines for Federal Work Study and Other Programs

The Department of Education issued a federal register notice this week regarding important deadline dates for student aid programs. The Federal student aid programs covered by the deadline date notice include the Pell Grant, Direct Loan, TEACH Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program (FSEOG) and Federal Work Study (FWS) programs.