Federal Relations

May 8, 2009

APLU Provides Preliminary Analysis of FY10 President’s Budget Request

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has prepared a preliminary analysis (below) of the higher education components of President Obama’s FY10 Budget Request. Additional information will be provided as the UW Office of Federal Relations and various higher education associations examine the budget request. In the Federal Budget section of this website, budget briefing materials from the federal agencies are available for review. Members of the UW community are encouraged to provide feedback to the Office of Federal Relations on specific components of the budget request that impact their programs.

In the coming days, UW will provide recommendations on the President’s Budget Request (PBR) to the state of Washington congressional delegation.

Preliminary APLU Analysis of FY10 PBR

Department of Education (ED)

A cornerstone of the Obama Administration higher education policy is its proposal to turn the Pell Grant Program into an entitlement program from its current status as a discretionary line item.  The documents released today reaffirm this proposal and calls for the maximum award to be set at $5,550 for the 2010-2011 academic year.  In addition to turning the program into an entitlement, the budget calls for the maximum to increase yearly at the same rate as the consumer price index (CPI) plus one percentage point.

The documents released today also reconfirm the Administration’s desire to end the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).  The Administration proposes to originate all new federal student loans after July 1, 2010, through the Direct Loan (DL) program.  In order to ensure that the Department has the capability to handle the new loan volume, the budget calls for the Department’s student aid administration budget to increase by $27 million to $870 million in FY2010.

While the Pell and student loan proposals have received the most attention from the community and the press, the Administration has proposed a set of changes to the current Perkins Loan Program.  While the Administration has called for the size of the program to be increased to $6 billion, until today, many of the details about the Administration’s proposal were less clear.

The Department is proposing changes to the delivery mechanism of the program, moving away from the institution-based “revolving funds” model and to the same system that institutions currently use for Pell Grants and Direct Loans.  The Perkins loans would be serviced by private companies that currently service the direct loans and FFEL loans acquired by the Department.

The distribution formula would be altered as well.  It appears that the new proposal could include a number of new conditions that institutions must meet.  The appendix states that the Administration “intends for this new formula to encourage colleges to control costs and offer need-based aid to prevent excessive indebtedness.  It may also reward schools that enroll and graduate students from low- and middle-income families.”  Furthermore, institutions would have the ability to determine student eligibility and the borrowers would continue to receive an interest of five percent, while the in-school subsidy would be eliminated.  Institutions would be required to calculate and return to the federal government the federal share of the current revolving funds.

The budget also calls for a new mandatory five-year, $2.5-billion college access and completion fund.  Funds would go primarily to states to improve graduation rates among high need students.  States would be given the flexibility to fund and support programs.

With respect to other student aid programs, the Administration proposes to fund the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program at $757 million in FY2010, slightly below the current level.  The budget also calls for the work-study program to be funded at $981 million, compared to the $1.18 billion in FY2009.  The program, however, received $200 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) earlier this year.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

The Obama budget seeks $171.3 million for the NEH, which represents an increase of $16.3 million over the FY2009 appropriated levels.  This sum includes $10 million to run the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs, currently administered by U. S. Commission of Fine Arts.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

The preliminary budget documents available today for NSF call for an overall increase of 8.55% over the FY2009 appropriations level, from $6.49 billion (which does not included ARRA funding) to $7.045 billion.  Within that total, the Research & Related Activities (R&RA) account request is $5.853 billion, the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) account request is $117 million, and the Education and Human Resources (EHR) request is $973 million.

New research program directions for FY2010 have yet to be released, but NSF has announced a proposal to increase graduate research fellowships from approximately 1200 to 1600.

Department of Energy (DOE)

The Administration’s FY2010 DOE budget request reiterates the President’s pledge to double the federal investment in basic research at the DOE over ten years. The DOE Office of Science (SC) budget increases nearly four percent with a FY2010 request of $4.941 billion. Within the SC budget, the Basic Energy Sciences (BES) division request is $1.685 billion, a 7.2-percent increase.

The Department’s budget proposes a new cross-agency program, Energy Innovation Hubs, to be funded at $280 million. DOE hopes to fund eight multi-disciplinary Innovation Hubs, under initial five-year grants with a projected total of $35 million in grants the first year, to conduct research and development in the following areas: Solar Electricity, Fuels from Sunlight, Batteries and Energy Storage, Carbon Capture and Storage, Grid Materials, Devices, and Systems; Energy Efficient Building Systems Design; Extreme Materials; and Modeling and Simulation. Universities will be eligible to lead a Hub, which would be multi-partner (Universities, National Labs, and Industry) endeavors.

The DOE budget request states that the agency will continue to support the current 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), but does not call for a new EFRC solicitation. The agency will also continue to fund the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) with a budget request of $10 million for administrative purposes. The Administration’s budget assumes that ARPA-E will support research grants with the $400 million received in ARRA funding.

In addition, the budget request launches a new K-20+ science and engineering education initiative, RE-ENERGYSE (Regaining our ENERGY Science and Engineering Edge), with a $115 million budget request. Of note for higher education, the initiative would provide funding for graduate research fellowships, training grants to universities to establish multidisciplinary clean energy education programs, and grants for expanded energy-related research opportunities for undergraduates. The Office of Science’s Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists program would complement the RE-ENERGYSE initiative, with a request $20.6 million, an increase of 52 percent.

With respect to other DOE programs, the budget request includes the following funding levels:

  • Office of Science Total:  $4.941 billion (3.9 percent increase) *as compared to the FY09 Appropriation without the ARRA funding included.
  • High Energy Physics:  $819 million (2.9 percent increase)
  • Nuclear Physics:  $552 million (7.8 percent increase)
  • Biological and Environ Research:   $604 million (0.4 percent increase)
  • Basic Energy Sciences:  $1.685 billion (7.2 percent increase)
  • Advanced Scientific Computing:  $409 million (10.9 percent increase)
  • Fusion Energy Science:  $421 million (4.6 percent increase)
  • Science Lab Infrastructure: $133 million (8.1 percent decrease)
  • Workforce and Development:  $20.6 million (52.2 percent increase)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The President’s FY2010 budget request includes $30.76 billion for NIH from the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill.  This represents a $442-million (1.46 percent) increase over the FY2009 regularly appropriated level (The budget request also includes $79 million from the Interior appropriations bill specifically for Superfund research) and follows up on the $10 billion infusion for the agency in the ARRA.

The NIH budget request includes funding for strategic priorities such as cancer research, autism research, nanotechnology safety research, and a new effort in bioethics.

The FY2010 request provides $6 billion for cancer research across the agency, an increase of $268 million (5 percent) over estimated FY2009 levels. This is the first of an eight-year plan to double cancer research funding.

The NIH portion of a Department-wide (Health and Human Services) initiative on autism research is by far the largest:  NIH’s share, per the budget bequest, would be $141 million (an increase of $19 million, or 16 percent, over estimated FY2009 levels), with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Services Administration providing an additional $70 million.

Under the FY2010 budget proposal, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences would receive an additional $9 million for a new initiative in nanotechnology-related environment, health and safety research.

The Administration request also outlines $5 million from the Office of the Director to launch a new effort in bioethics.  This commitment to bioethics research and training would be funded in coordination with the various Institutes and Centers and is proposed as an important undertaking to maintain and enhance public trust and confidence as NIH-funded research explores new frontiers in science, bioinformatics and biomedical and behavioral medicine.

Department of Defense (DOD)

The Administration seeks to continue its overall commitment to basic and applied research in the defense budget as well, although it does not call for increases across the board.  The numbers included in the analysis below represents comparisons between the FY2010 budget request and the FY2009 budget request, and not a comparison between the FY2010 request and the FY2009 final appropriation.

Overall basic research (“6.1”) would see an increase of $99.6 million, or 6 percent, over the FY2009 request while the budget proposes to virtually level fund all applied research programs (“6.2”) with a proposed cut of $1.7 million.

  • Army

Army basic research programs would see a slight decrease of $2 million, or 0.6 percent, below the FY2009 request while the Army 6.2 programs would see an increase of approximately 8 percent, or $58 million.

  • Navy

Basic research programs would see a slight increase of $3 million (or 0.6 percent) over this year’s request while the Administration proposes to reduce the 6.2 programs by approximately $39.3 million, or 6.2 percent, below the FY2009 request.

  • Air Force

The budget request seeks a $13.8-million (or 3.1 percent) increase for basic research while also calling for a $50.1-million (4.8 percent) increase for applied research funded by the Air force.

  • Defense-wide Research Funding

The Administration budget request proposes to reduce defense-wide basic research programs by $85 million, or 25.1 percent, below the current year’s request.  It also calls for a decrease of applied research programs of $67.8 million, or 3.6 percent, below the FY2009 requested levels.  On the other hand, the budget includes an increase of $21 million for the National Defense Education Program.

  • Multi-Service Programs

Defense Research Sciences seem to fare generally well in the President’s budget, with Army slated for a cut of 2.2 percent while Navy (1.6 percent), Air Force (3.6 percent) and Defense-wide (15.6 percent) would all see increases compared to the FY2009 request.

University Research Initiatives are also targeted for  increases in general over the FY09 request, with the Administration seeking an increase of 14.9 percent for Army and 5 percent for the Air Force, while calling for a 4.1 percent decrease below the FY2009 request for the Navy.