FY23 Appropriations Letter Urges Robust Funding for Science Agencies

Last week over 100 organizations, including CGS, signed on to a letter urging the highest possible 302(b) allocation for the National Science Foundation and other federal research agencies. Specifically, the letter calls on Congressional leaders to provide a robust funding allocation for research and education programs in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittees. The organizations note in the letter, “Significant resources are urgently needed for CJS agencies, which are vital for addressing the great challenges facing our nation, including the threat of climate change; enhancing innovation, economic growth, and prosperity; and promoting equity and justice. This important work involves many agencies and programs, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Census Bureau, the Department of Commerce statistical agencies, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs.”

For more information on the status of FY 2023 Budget and Appropriations, please visit the CGS resource webpage.

Department of Education Urges Colleges to Use American Rescue Plan Funds to Provide Mental Health Support to Students

Earlier this week, the Department of Education released new guidance regarding helping colleges and universities provide mental health support to students. According to the press release, the guidance will help colleges and universities support students as they navigate mental health challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. It also includes specific examples of how colleges can use Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) to invest in evidence-based mental health support for students and connect the campus community to providers and care. “If there is one thing I’ve heard while speaking with college students throughout the nation, it’s been the need for greater mental health supports on campus,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “We must make sure our colleges and universities have the tools and resources to help students, faculty, and staff heal from the grief, trauma, and anxiety they endured amid the pandemic. Today’s guidance will equip higher education leaders with promising strategies for how they can use American Rescue Plan dollars to connect students to the services they need and to better support mental health and wellness throughout their campus communities.”

Last year CGS and the JED Foundation released a report, “Supporting Graduate Student Mental Health and Well-being: Evidence-Informed Recommendations for the Graduate Community,” which contextualized the urgency of this issue and includes results from a CGS member survey, priority areas for future research, and examples of programs aligned with key recommendations. To highlight CGS’s work in this area, CGS President Suzanne Ortega sent a letter to Members of Congress in April 2022.

Student Aid Association Releases Ideas for Loan Reforms

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) released a report this week on improvements needed in the administration of  student loan programs. The release of this report comes at an apt time, given the current pause in student loan repayments due to the pandemic and the Administration’s plans to potentially forgive billions in student loan debt. “As the president and Congress debate and consider widespread debt forgiveness, we call attention to the noticeable absence and urgently needed policy reforms that will prevent borrowers from being in this same exact position in the future,” said NASFAA President and CEO Justin Draeger. “That’s why NASFAA convened subject matter experts across the higher education system to develop policy recommendations that address systemic shortcomings in our federal student loan system.”

The report recommendations include:

  • Strengthen and simplify income-driven repayment programs so they protect borrowers and allow them to repay in accessible, realistic, and manageable ways.
  • Reexamine the federal student loan system as a direct-to-borrower federal loan program, as opposed to a vestige of bank-based lending.
  • Develop policies that both help and incentivize borrowers to meet their obligations and target resources toward borrowers who need assistance.
  • Create policies that assist struggling borrowers, rather than punish and hinder those who are already behind.
  • Ensure policies are progressive — not regressive — for low-income students.

For more information about the report and NASFAA’s recent activities on student loan debt forgiveness, please see the association’s press release.

Apply Today: Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Program Awards

The Department of Education issued a notice this week inviting applications for new awards for the FY 2022 Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. The CCAMPIS Program supports the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education by providing campus-based childcare services. Funds are used to support or establish campus-based childcare programs primarily serving the needs of low-income students enrolled in IHEs. Grants may be used for before- and after-school services. In addition, grants may be used to serve the childcare needs of the community served by the institution.

Absolute priority for FY 2022 awards will be given to:

  • Projects that are designed to leverage significant local or institutional resources, including in-kind contributions
  • Projects that are designed to utilize a sliding fee scale for childcare services to support a high number of low-income parents pursuing postsecondary education at the institution.

Congress allocated $65 million for the program in FY 2022, an 18 percent increase. President Biden’s FY 2023 Budget Request proposes $95 million for the program.

Call for Golden Goose Award Nominations Begin

Nominations for the prestigious Golden Goose Award have opened. The Golden Goose Award recognizes researchers whose seemingly obscure, federally funded research has led to major breakthroughs. Since 2012, groups of researchers have been recognized each year for breakthroughs in the development of life-saving medicines and treatments; game-changing social and behavioral insights; and major technological advances related to national security, energy, the environment, communications, and public health. Information regarding nominations can be found here.