On March 9, the Biden administration released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget request. The administration proposes funding non-defense discretionary programs at $841.3 billion and defense programs at $886.4 billion, a 5.5 percent increase from congressional appropriations in FY 2023. The administration requests $90 billion for the Department of Education, which is a 13.6 percent increase from FY 2023 enacted levels. Additional details about the Department of Education’s FY 2024 budget can be found here. For the physical sciences, the administration requests $11.3 billion for the National Science Foundation, which is a nearly $2 billion increase from FY 2023 enacted levels. For the Department of Energy, the administration requests $52 billion, which is a $6.2 billion increase from FY 2023 enacted levels. For biomedical research, the administration request $48.6 billion for the National Institutes of Health, which is an increase of $920 million.
House Democrats Introduce Legislation that Benefits Graduate Education
Earlier this week, House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee Ranking Member Frederica Wilson (D-FL) reintroduced the Lowering Obstacles to Achievement Now (LOAN) Act. If passed, the bill would provide significant investments to graduate education.
The legislation would:
- Extend Pell Grant eligibility from the current 12 semesters back to 18 semesters as it existed before 2011 eligibility cuts related to a Pell Grant funding shortfall.
- Allow students completing a graduate or professional degree to use any remaining Pell eligibility from their undergraduate studies.
- Provides graduate and professional students attending public and non-profit institutions with access to subsidized loans at the same interest rate available to these students for unsubsidized loans.
- Repeal origination fees for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, as well as Direct PLUS Loans.
- Extends Title IV eligibility to DREAMers.
In a CGS press release, President Suzanne T. Ortega applauded the reintroduction of this legislation and said that the “legislation highlights a commitment to making graduate education accessible to all by expanding the Pell Grant program and reforming student loans.”
CGS Encourages Department of Education to Make Graduate Education a High Priority
On March 1, CGS sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona regarding the importance of prioritizing graduate education. Themes of the letter include increasing access to graduate education and scholarship, supporting graduate student mental health and wellbeing, and strengthening opportunities for international engagement and collaboration. In the letter, CGS stresses the importance of programs administered by the Department of Education that increase access to advanced degrees, including the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need Program (GAANN) and the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. In the letter, CGS also expressed our continued support for programs that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within graduate education, such as the Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans program, Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions program, and Strengthening Master’s Degree Programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
CGS Updates Federal Policy Agenda for the 118th Congress
Last week, CGS updated the Federal Policy Agenda for the new Congress. The 2023–2024 Federal Policy Agenda calls upon Congress and the Administration to support policies that, through graduate education, improve access to graduate education, promote the United States as a global leader, and create a more equitable society for all. CGS members are encouraged to share the Federal Policy Agenda with colleagues on campus as well as with federal policymakers.
NSF, NIH and OSTP Issue Important Federal Register Notices
This week, the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released information related to research.
The NSF is seeking public comment regarding its evaluation of anti-harassment term and condition. The purpose of NSF’s Awardee Survey Form is to collect awardee feedback and input that requires NSF to be notified of any findings regarding the PI or co-PI that demonstrate a violation of awardee codes of conduct, policies, regulations, or statutes relating to sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault.
The NIH is requesting information on the NIH Plan to Enhance Public Access to the Results of NIH-Supported Research. In 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a memorandum on “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research” that establishes new guidance for improving public access to scholarly publications and data resulting from Federally supported research. CGS wrote about the 2022 OSTP memo in a previous Washington Insights and Highlights newsletter, which you can view here. The NIH Public Access Plan outlines the proposed approach the agency will take to implement the new guidance, consistent with its longstanding commitment to public access. NIH seeks information on:
- How to best ensure equity in publication opportunities for NIH-supported investigators.
- Steps for improving equity in access and accessibility of publications.
- Methods for monitoring evolving costs and impacts on affected communities.
- Early input on considerations to increase findability and transparency of research.
Comments must be submitted here and will be accepted through April 24, 2023.
The OSTP requests comments from the public on draft Research Security Programs Standards. The draft has been created to ensure that there is uniformity across Federal research agencies in implementing research security programs standards. OSTP seeks public input with special attention to equity, clarity, feasibility, burden, and compliance. The draft standard requirement can be found here.