Congress Begins Work on FY 2023 Appropriations Bills

In the last week, the House of Representatives has started its work on the fiscal year 2023 appropriations process. The House Commerce-Justice- Science, the Labor-HHS-Education, and Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittees marked-up their respective appropriations bills. The full House Appropriations Committee will mark-up these and other appropriations bills next week.

The Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill includes funding for several research agencies, including the National Science Foundation. For FY 2023, the subcommittee approved an appropriation of $9.6 billion, which is an increase of $546 million over the FY 2022 enacted level of funding. The subcommittee-passed funding level includes, $7.7 billion for the Research and Related Activities Directorate and $1.25 billion for the STEM Education Directorate, which was formerly known as the Education and Human Resources Directorate. While this is a marked increase in funding for NSF, it is well below the requested level of funding supported by the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF). CGS and other members of CNSF are requesting at least $11 billion in funding for NSF in fiscal year 2023.

The Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of Education, the National Institutes of Health, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. The subcommittee approved an appropriation of $88.7 billion for the Department of Education. This is an increase of $10.3 billion above the FY 2022 enacted level of funding. Nearly $4 billion of that would go to higher education programs, which is $965 million over the FY 2022 enacted level of funding. Higher education programs that benefit graduate education include, Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans, Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions, and Strengthening Master’s Degree Programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It also includes International Education and Foreign Language Studies programs, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement program, Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, and Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. The CCAMPIS program received a proposed $95 million, $30 million more than FY 2022 enacted amount and consistent with the Administration’s FY 2023 budget request. It is important to note that the subcommittee-passed bill includes provisions that would increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $7,395, which is a $500 increase from FY 2022 funding levels. Moreover, the bill includes a provision that would allow students with temporary protected status, such as Dreamers, to be eligible for student financial assistance, including federal student loans.

The Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee approved $8 billion for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. This is an increase of $525 million above the FY 2022 enacted level of funding. This level of funding is slightly less than the requested $8.8 billion made by the Energy Sciences Coalition (ESC). CGS is a member of ESC and supports the $8.8 billion level of funding for the Office of Science.

Department of Education Releases Proposed Changes to Title IX Regulations

On Thursday, June 23, 2022, the Department of Education released proposed changes to Title IX regulations that protect students from sexual harassment, assault, and sex-based discrimination. According to the Department of Education press release, “the proposed regulations will advance educational equity and opportunity for women and girls across the country to ensure that every student in America, from kindergarten through a doctorate degree, can achieve her dreams.” The proposed regulations would make several important changes, including:

  • Clearly protecting students and employees from all forms of sex discrimination.
  • Provide full protection from sex-based harassment.
  • Require schools to take prompt and effective action to end any sex discrimination in their educational programs or activities – and to prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects.
  • Require schools to respond promptly to all complaints of sex discrimination with a fair and reliable process that includes trained, unbiased decision makers to evaluate the evidence.
  • Protect LGBTQI+ students from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.

The Department’s proposed Title IX regulations will be open for public comment for 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. As of now, only the proposed regulation is available.

House Education and Labor Committee Char Bobby Scott (D-VA) said in a statement, “The Education Department’s new proposed Title IX regulations mark a monumental step in our fight to address sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination in K-12 and higher education—all while preserving the rights of the accused. By expanding the critical protections under this law, the new regulations would help ensure that all students, including LGBTQI+ students, are fully protected from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, today’s announcement makes clear that the Biden-Harris administration is committed to restoring the intent of Title IX and fulfilling the promise of equal access to education for every student in America.”

Applications Open for Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans Program

Recently, the Department of Education issued a notice inviting applications for the Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) program. Absolute priority will be given to applications that can expand the number of Hispanic and other underrepresented graduate students by expanding courses and institutional resources. Estimated available funds for Fiscal Year 2022 is $5.9 million, with the estimated average size of awards being $550,000. Eligible applicants are institutes of higher education that offer a postbaccalaureate certificate or degree program and qualify as an eligible Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). The deadline for applications is July 28.

The Administration and 117th Congress have recognized the importance of increased funding for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI). Funding for the PPOHA program has increased 53 percent since FY 2020 and the Administration proposed a $9.1 million increase in its FY 2023 budget request. Hispanic-serving institutions recently formed the Hispanic Serving Research Universities Alliance with the goal of doubling the number of Hispanic doctoral students and increasing Hispanic faculty by 20 percent by 2030. Inside Higher Ed reported on the new group, noting that Hispanics are 17 percent of the U.S. workforce but fewer than 6 percent of doctoral students nationwide.

10th Anniversary of DACA Program

Last week, the Biden Administration celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA program is administrative relief that protects eligible immigrants who came to the United States when they were children from deportation and access to work permits. According to a Congressional Research Service report in 2021, a national survey of DACA recipients was conducted from 2016 to 2019. The survey found that 29 percent of DACA recipients held a postgraduate degree, compared to 5 percent in 2016.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona released a statement on the 10th anniversary of the DACA policy. “A decade ago, the Obama-Biden administration worked alongside Dreamers and immigration experts to establish DACA. Since then, DACA has provided hundreds of thousands of people who grew up in the United States, living American lives and dreaming American dreams, with protection from deportation, access to work permits and education, and hope for a brighter future. Over the last ten years, Dreamers have thrived in our schools, contributed to our communities, and built successful careers in education, health care, the military and so much more.”

NSF Higher Education Research and Development Survey

The National Science Foundation released a federal register notice this week requesting public comment on the Higher Education Research and Development Survey. The project will continue the annual survey cycle for three years. The Higher Education R&D Survey will provide continuity of statistics on R&D expenditures by source of funding, type of R&D (basic research, applied research, or development), and field of research, with separate data requested on research equipment by field. Previous surveys by fiscal year can be found here.

NEH Humanities Panel Review of Applications

The National Endowment for the Humanities issued a federal register notice this week regarding the review of applications for financial assistance. The Humanities Panel will hold 23 meetings during June and July 2022 for panel review, discussion, evaluation, and recommendation of applications for financial assistance for the variety of different humanities programs at NEH. The review of applications will be done at the Division of Research, which provides funding opportunities to scholars working on research projects regarding the humanities.