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Higher ed funding outlined in president’s proposed budget

Following is a quick recap of how President Bush’s proposed federal budget of $2.77-trillion for the 2007 fiscal year would affect higher education: (For details, go to The Chronicle of Higher Education articles linked in each section.)

—  $12.7-billion would be added to Pell Grants, enabling an additional 59,000 students to receive Pell Grants this year. The maximum Pell Grant would remain at $4,050 for the fifth year in a row. The Federal Work-Study and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, which augment Pell Grants for needy students, would remain the same as well.  (See

— A new program could give college freshmen and sophomores who are eligible for Pell Grants additional eligibility receive $750 and $1,300 in grants, respectively, if they have completed “a rigorous secondary-school program of study” and maintain a 3.0 grade-point average in college. Juniors and seniors who pursue a major in mathematics, science, or certain foreign languages, and who maintain a 3.0 average in that major, would be eligible to receive grants of up to $4,000 a year.

— For the second year, Congress is being asked to eliminate the Perkins Loan Program, for low-income vocational students, and terminate the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships program, which matches each dollar that states commit to need-based aid. The administration said these programs have “produced little or no evidence of improved outcomes for students despite decades of federal investment.”
The savings from eliminating these programs would be transferred into a block grant that states could use in a variety of ways “to increase the achievement of high-school students,” according to budget documents. (See

The president’s budget also would expand a program for community colleges to train workers in high-demand fields, like health care and information technology.

— Programs for low-income students that would be eliminated are Upward Bound and Talent Search, which are part of the federal TRIO programs for disadvantaged students, and Gear Up, which concentrates on helping financially needy middle-school students prepare for college.

— The proposal would double federal spending on research in the physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering over the next 10 years (The Chronicle, February 1). Spending for the National Science Foundation (see would increase by 8 percent, to $6.02-billion, in the 2007 fiscal year, which begins on October 1. And the budget of the Energy Department’s Office of Science would rise by 14 percent, to $4.10-billion. (See

Federal funds for physics, chemistry, math, and engineering have been flat, after accounting for inflation, for more than a decade (The Chronicle, February 18, 2005). Scientists in those fields felt overlooked as the federal government completed a five-year drive in 2003 to double spending at the National Institutes of Health for biomedical research (See
The overall proposed increase for the Office of Science would be divided unequally among its divisions, as follows:
• Advanced scientific computing research: up 34 percent, to $318.7-million.
• Basic energy sciences: up 25 percent, to $1.42-billion.
• High-energy physics: up 8 percent, to $775.1-million.
• Nuclear physics: up 24 percent, to $454.1-million.
• In addition, funds for fusion-energy sciences would increase by 11 percent, to $319-million and would go to a proposed International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, an international collaboration to build a fusion reactor to produce electricity. Funds for all other fusion programs would stay level, compared with this year.
• Biological and environmental research would receive $510.3-million, 12 percent higher than his proposed level for 2006
— The two national endowments would receive no increase in the 2007. The National Endowment for the Humanities would receive $141-million, and the National Endowment for the Arts would receive $125-million. (See
— The budget does call for 6.1 percent increase in spending at the Institute of Museum and Library Services and by 3.8 percent at the National Archives and Records Administration.

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