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Wednesday, 11th April 2012

An Analysis of STEM Education Funding at the NSF: Trends and Policy Discussion

Source: Congressional Research Service, via Federation of American Scientists

From the summary:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a key component of the federal STEM education effort. Several inventories of the federal STEM education portfolio have highlighted NSF’s important role—both in terms of funding and in the number and breadth of programs. The NSF is also the only federal agency whose primary mission includes supporting education across all fields of science and engineering. As such, funding for STEM education at the NSF impacts not only the agency, but also the entire federal STEM education effort.

Congress reduced enacted funding levels (from the prior year) for NSF’s main education account in both FY2011 and FY2012. Those year-over-year reductions followed several years of varying funding, as well as changes in the distribution of the Foundation budget that reduced funding for the main education account as a percentage of the total NSF budget. For the most part, these changes appear to result from a combination of holding the main education account more-or-less constant while applying most of the Foundation’s FY2003-FY2011 budget growth to the main research account. However, in constant dollar terms, it appears at least some of the increase in funding for research activities during the observed period may have come at the expense of education activities.

+ Link to full report (PDF; 396 KB)


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Peggy Garvin, of Garvin Information Consulting, is the author of United States Government Internet Directory (Bernan Press) and Real World Research Skills, 2009 (TheCapitol.Net). In her 20 years in the information business, Peggy has managed electronic information products and services in a variety of environments, including commercial publishing, e-commerce, law firms, and the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. Peggy's work has been recognized with the 2011 SLA Dow Jones Leadership Award. She has a Masters of Library Science degree from Syracuse University School of Information Studies.

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