We commend President Obama for the administration’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget which invests in education, research and innovation. The proposed budget reflects a strong commitment to the understanding that American competitiveness in a global economy depends on developing human talent.
In general, the FY 2013 budget maintains, and in some instances increases, investments in key graduate education programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Education. Given the current fiscal constraints, CGS especially appreciates several key provisions that support graduate education and research.
Among these are NSF’s new “Core R&D Launch” initiative which will include $5 million for research on STEM Professional Workforce Preparation, which will include coordination and synthesis between NSF STEM workforce development programs. This type of initiative is vital as the highly-skilled STEM workforce needs to be able to lead research at the cutting edge of science.
Additionally, NSF will invest in a nearly 45% increase over the FY 12 estimated funding level for the Graduate Research Fellowship program; this increase will ensure 2,000 new awards can be granted in FY 13 as well as bringing the stipend level up to $32,000.
We also applaud the administration’s continued support for graduate education programs at the U.S. Department of Education through level funding of the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program as well as the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, the Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions program, Master’s Degree Programs at HBCUs and Predominantly Black Institutions, and the Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans program.
However, CGS is concerned about the decrease proposed for the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program, which would be cut more than 13% from FY 12 levels. This is of particular concern because the traineeship model has been highly successful for innovating and achieving success for students in graduate education. Additionally, the Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service program funding would fall by 44.4% to $25 million. Given the importance of ensuring the security of our federal agencies’ cyber-related functions, such a decrease could have a profound effect on recruitment of graduate students into this vital area of study.
Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that by 2020, 2.6 million new jobs will require people with advanced degrees. If we want to meet those workforce needs, we must encourage more students to pursue and complete graduate studies. We look forward to working with the administration and Congress as the Fiscal Year 2013 budget and appropriations process moves forward. Tomorrow’s creators in a wide range of fields and sectors are educated in our graduate schools. We need to invest in graduate education as a strategic national asset if we want America to prosper.
The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of over 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. Among U.S. institutions, CGS members award 92% of the doctoral degrees and 77% of the master’s degrees.* The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.
* Based on data from the 2010 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees
As the national advocate for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource for policymakers and others on issues concerning graduate education, research, and scholarship. Based in Washington, DC, the organization provides its members with regular updates and analyses of legislative and regulatory proposals and policies that affect graduate education.
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