STEM Education Programs Would Receive Moderate Increases Under the House and Senate's Proposed FY21 Spending Plan

Nov 23, 2020

by ASME.org

In developing its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget proposal, the Trump administration proposed consolidating grant programs at the Department of Education and other federal agencies, which would result in decreased federal support for STEM programs in FY 2021. However, both the House and Senate have rejected the administration’s request to consolidate these programs in their FY 2021 spending plans and furthermore, each chamber has provided funding for new programs at the Department of Education that would increase STEM education programing focused on career and technical education (CTE) and Minority Serving Institutions. 
 
Overall, the House has proposed $85 million and the Senate has proposed $75 million for STEM programs carried out through the Department of Education’s Education Innovation and Research program; these programs are currently funded at $65 million.
 
The administration had proposed eliminating three key formula grant programs that promote STEM education: the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants program, the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. However, the House instead proposed a 1% increase for each of the programs, while the Senate proposed a 3% increase for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants while funding the other two programs at current levels.
 
There are also many STEM fellowship programs offered through the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources Directorate. The Directorate is currently funded at $940 million. The House has proposed to increase that budget to $970 million and the Senate has proposed to increase it to $964 million.
 
The Senate’s spending bill calls on the Department of Energy to “establish a working group comprised of the Office of Science and national laboratories and a consortium of universities to assist universities in the development of a curriculum to promote the next generation of scientists utilizing artificial intelligence, quantum information science, and machine learning.” While not specified in the House bill, this request would be reconciled in a final omnibus spending bill agreement.
 
As lawmakers continue to meet to finalize a potential omnibus spending bill to fund the remainder of FY 2021, ASME will continue to report on any developments regarding the federal research and development portfolio, as well as related areas such as STEM education.
 

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