Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Record Update first

Federal budget generally positive for U-M

President Barack Obama's 2009-10 fiscal year budget contains continued support for higher education and research that will benefit U-M and other universities.

For higher education funding, the spending plan issued last week proposes a maximum Pell Grant at $5,550 for the 2010-11 academic year, with that amount indexed to rise with the Consumer Price Index plus 1 percent, thereafter.

Many of the other programs, including the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, Federal Work Study, Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, Javits and International Education aid, are funded at current levels.

The budget also calls for transitioning all new federal student loans to the Direct Loan program, which U-M already uses. Of particular interest to the university, the budget also proposes an expanded, modernized Perkins Loan program that could have ramifications for how the money would be allocated and distributed.

For research, the budget proposes increases for all the major agencies. Specifically, it requests:

• $30.84 billion for the National Institutes of Health, up 1.4 percent over this year's appropriated funding. Particular focus would be placed on cancer, autism, bioethics and nanotechnology safety research.

• $7.04 billion for the National Science Foundation, an increase of 8.5 percent.

• $4.94 billion for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, an increase of nearly 4 percent. Also proposed are eight new Energy Innovation Hubs. Established around the country, these hubs would support cross-disciplinary research on specific areas of energy research such as solar electricity and batteries and energy storage.

The budget calls for a new science and engineering education initiative to fund graduate research fellowships, as well as training grants for clean-energy education programs and expanded undergraduate research opportunities. It also provides startup funding for the Advanced Research Project Agency—Energy and continued funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers throughout the country. U-M was recently awarded such a center.

• An increase of nearly $100 million for basic research at the Department of Defense — a 6 percent boost.

• $11.4 billion for research and development at NASA, which is $1 billion more than was appropriated in fiscal 2008-09.

The budget also proposes mostly level funding for a number of economic development programs run through the Economic Development Administration that U-M administers in the upper Midwest.

The president's budget comes on top of funding approved earlier this year in the economic recovery legislation passed by Congress. Final appropriations for these and other federal programs now rest with Congress, with a Sept. 30 target date for completing action.

For more details about the 2009-10 budget, please contact the U-M Washington, D.C., Office at 202-554-0578.