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House Bill Includes Increases for NIH, Student Aid and Higher Education

The House Labor-HHS report includes increases for a number of agencies, programs, and accounts of great interest to both UW and the broader higher education community.  These include, for example, the following–


The bill calls for $49.4 billion for NIH, an increase of $6.5 billion above the current level.  Of the proposed $6.5-billion increase, $3.5 billion would be for the base NIH budget and $3 billion would be for the creation of ARPA-Health (ARPA-H), a new proposal from the Biden Administration.  The report states that ARPA-H should be a distinct entity within the NIH structure.

Student Aid/ Higher Education

  • Pell Grant

The House bill would increase the Pell Grant maximum to $6,895 from the current maximum of $6,495.

  • International education programs (Title VI)

Under the House bill, the collection of international education programs would see an increase of 19.2% and would be funded at $93.2 million.  Currently, these programs are funded at $78.2 million.


Federal Work Study would be increased by 20.5% to $1.43 billion while TRIO would see an increase of 18.2% to $1.3 billion.  In addition, GEAR UP would be increased by 10.9% to $408 million.  On the graduate education side, the bill proposes to support GAANN at $25.5 million, an increase of 8.5% (this program has not seen an increase in several years).

  • IES

The committee proposes to fund the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at $762.5 million, nearly a 19% increase.

Policy provisions

In addition to funding various programs and agencies, the bill would also allow DACA-eligible students to become Pell-eligible.

We will provide updates on this bill as the legislative process continues to move forward.


House Committee Approves Defense Bill, More Action Scheduled for Later This Week

The full House Appropriations Committee cleared the FY2022 Defense spending bill yesterday by a party-line vote of 33-23.  Among other efforts, the legislation funds Pentagon-supported basic and applied research programs .  The detailed committee report that outlines the individual accounts in bill is available here.

The committee is scheduled to take up additional measures of interest to UW later this week, with the Labor-HHS-Education and Commerce-Justice-Science bills slated to be marked up tomorrow and the Energy and Water Development legislation on deck for Friday.

Earlier today, the committee released the reports for the Labor-HHS-Education bill and the CJS bill and we will provide additional details about all of these bills after further analysis.  The Energy and Water Development report is not yet available.



Appropriations Process Kicks Into Gear

With six more bills scheduled for at least subcommittee action this week, the annual appropriations process for FY2022 has kicked into gear. This week’s activities follow those that took place the last week of June.  This means that all 12 spending bills will have moved through at least the subcommittee process by the end of this week.

The following pieces of legislation are scheduled for subcommittee action this week:

On Tuesday, the full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the Defense and Homeland Security bills.  The committee is currently scheduled to mark up the E&W and THUD bills on Friday.

The following bills have already cleared the full committee:

The Legislative Branch and Financial Services bills are still awaiting full committee action.

We will provide details as they become available.

Double the Pell Legislation Reintroduced

House and Senate Democrats have reintroduced the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act, which would double the maximum Pell award gradually over several years, expand the program to DACA recipients, and make other changes. The bill is sponsored by House Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chair Patty Murray (D-WA).

Read more here.

Some Budget Details Available

As was reported on Friday, the Biden Administration released its detailed budget request late that afternoon.  The government-wide budget documents are now available here.  As agency-specific documents and details become available, we will provide updates.

Initial details about the budget requests for various agencies are provided below.


NSF as a whole would see a total of $10.12 billion under the Biden Administration proposal, an increase of 19.8 percent.  The funding breaks down in the following manner:

  • Research and Related Activities (R&RA): $8.14 billion ($1.23-billion increase, or 17.8%)
  • Education and Human Resources: $1.29 billion ($319.3-million increase, or 33.0%)
  • Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction: $249.0 million ($8.0-million increase, or 3.3%)

Within R&RA, given the Administration’s emphasis on climate science, it is not surprising that the NSF budget proposal calls for an estimated increase of 19.0% for Geosciences over the FY2021 estimates.

Under the budget proposal, NSF would play a key role in a number of Administration-wide research priority areas.  For example, the budget request calls for significant increases for the agency in the following areas:

  • US Global Change Research Program—46.3%
  • Artificial Intelligence—31.4%
  • Biotechnology and Clean Energy—both would see increases of 31.7%
  • Quantum—23.8%
  • Microelectronics/ semiconductors—56.7%

The entire set of NSF budget documents is available here:



NASA also released its detailed budget documents on Friday, which are available here.

Overall, NASA is slated for $24.8 billion, an increase of $1.53 billion, or 6.57 percent, over the current funding level.

The President budget request calls for funding the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) at $7.93 billion, $630.6 million (8.6%) above the FY2021 level.  Within SMD, the Administration proposal breaks down in the following manner:

  • Planetary Science: $3.20 billion
  • Earth Science: $2.25 billion
  • Astrophysics: $1.40 billion
  • Heliophysics: $796.7 million
  • Webb Space Telescope: $175.4 million
  • Biological and physical sciences: $109.1 million

The Aeronautics Directorate would be funded at $914.8 million while Space Technology would see $1.43 billion under the budget proposal.

The Office of STEM Engagement, which supports the Space Grant program, would see an increase of $20 million to $147.0 million.  The requested amount allow Space Grant to increase by $6 million in FY2022.

A set of facts sheets about the different missions areas is available here.



While the detailed budget documents are not yet available, a press release that highlights some of the key themes of the agency budget notes that NOAA would see an increase of $1.5 billion in its discretionary budget, an increase of 27.3 percent, taking the total to $7.0 billion.

A key driver of the increase is the renewed focus on climate change and the budget proposal calls for an additional investment of $855 million in activities related to the issue.

Detailed documents are expected in the coming days.


Department of Education

Unveiled in previous proposals, the Education Department (ED) budget request details a number of the Biden Administration’s key higher education priorities.  ED proposes to boost a number of programs aimed at Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), including those funded through Title III of the Higher Education Act.  The Administration is asking $4.6 billion to eliminate tuition at MSIs for families with incomes below $125,000 per year.  The budget also seeks $14.3 billion for a federal-state partnership to make community colleges tuition free.

The maximum Pell Grant award would be increased by $1,875 to $8,370.  The SEOG and Federal Work Study programs would be level-funded at $880 million and $1.19 billion, respectively.  At the same time, TRIO and GEAR UP would see increases of $200.8 million and $40 million, respectively; as a result, TRIO would be funded at $1.3 billion and GEAR UP would be funded at $408 million.

Title VI international education programs and GAANN would be level funded at $78 million and $23.5 million, respectively, while the Institute for Education Sciences would receive an increase of $95 million, or 14.8 percent, to $737.5 million.

ED’s budget documents are available here.



The budget request seeks $51.93 billion for NIH.  This includes a proposal to increase the base budget by $2.5 billion while seeking $6.5 billion to create a new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H).

Topline information about the Department of Health and Human Services, of which NIH is a part, is available here.

We will provide further details about the NIH budget after additional analysis.



Under the Biden Administration’s budget proposal, USGS is expected to play a significant role in the government’s efforts to address climate change.  While the agency would seen an increase of $326.9 million over the FY2021 funding level to a total of $1.6 billion, $205.0 million of the increase would be directed to investments in climate science research.

Among the new investments would be $42.5 million for Climate Science Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs) as well as tribal climate science activities.  In fact, the budget for the CASC program would more than double under the budget request, going from $41.3 million to $84.4 million.  The USGS would also contribute $60.0 million to the newly proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency-Climate (ARPA-C).

The Cooperative Research Unit program would see a modest increase of $0.5 million.

The ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system—which is now capable of sending our public alerts along the entire West Coast—would be level-funded at $25.7 million under the Biden Budget.

Initial information about the UGSS budget proposal is available  here.


Other agencies/ Additional details

Again, the Office of Federal Relations will continue to provide updates as more details become available and after further analysis.