Proposed FY18 Federal Budget Poses Major Cuts to Funding for Scientific Research and STEM Education.
While the proposed FY18 federal budget is likely to change as it is considered and amended by the United States House and Senate, the proposed cuts signal alarm for women in engineering and technology.
Take Action: Contact Your Elected Officials About the FY18 Budget & Sign-up for Text Alerts from SWE
As explained in this analysis, the proposed cuts to key STEM education programs and scientific research will negatively impact the U.S. workforce, the future pipeline of engineers, and scientific advancement. Consider doing one or both of these two action items:
- Write Your Elected Official: Use SWE’s Legislative Action Center to Contact Your Elected Officials about the FY18 Budget
- Get Text Alerts: Stay informed about SWE Advocacy through text alerts. Text SWE Advocate to 56512 to sign-up.
Decreasing STEM Education Limits Job Growth for U.S. Workers
If passed unaltered, the proposed FY18 Federal Budget will negatively impact the pipeline of engineering talent that is critical to increasing access to jobs to strengthen the United States’ economy.
The engineering field is growing and the education system in the United States needs to keep up. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment, the engineering field will grow by 4 percent by 2024 and will add over 65,000 new jobs. Additionally, some engineering fields will experience more significant growth: biomedical engineering will grow by 23 percent, environmental engineering by over 12 percent, and civil engineering by over 8 percent.
Without strong STEM education programs, the United States and its workers will lack the necessary technical skill to meet the growing demand within these critical engineering fields. While the FY18 budget proposes an increase in funding for various military initiatives, this spend on the military will suffer without a strong STEM workforce development program.
A detailed analysis of Department of Education funding cuts provided by the STEM Education Coalition is provided below:
- The FY18 budget proposes $59 billion for the Department of Education, a $9 billion or 13 percent reduction.
- Title II: Eliminated entirely the $2.4 billion Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program.
- NASA Office of Education is totally eliminated.
- 21CCLC: Eliminated entirely the $1.2 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program.
- Perkins CTE programs: $1.1 billion for FY17, FY18 proposes $876 billion, a cut of $168 million, includes a new $20 million set aside “that would support a competition to promote the development, enhancement, implementation, or expansion of innovative CTE programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
- Federal TRIO Programs: $808 million, a $90 million cut from FY2017 level. (Cuts were Educational Opportunity Center and McNair grants; Upward Bound Math and Science initiatives were retained.)
- See more details: https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget18/summary/18summary.pdf
Reducing Critical Scientific Research Hinders Innovation in the U.S.
The FY18 proposed Federal Budget also cut or significantly reduced funding to dozens of agencies that provide critical research. For example, the total FY18 budget proposed for the National Science Foundation is $6.65 billion, which a decrease of $840.5 million from FY17. In addition, NSF’s Education and Human Resources Directorate received a proposed cut of 14 percent for the FY18 budget (or a $123.55 million cut).
In addition to funding critical research, NSF funds programs that strive to increase the participation of individuals who are traditionally underrepresented within the STEM profession. For example, NSF provides critical support for SWE programming, as illustrated by the following examples:
- In 2016, NSF funded the travel of 10 underrepresented high school students to attend SWE’s Annual Conference. (NSF #1659313)
- NSF provides a multi-year grant for SWE’s Academic Leadership for Women in Engineering program at SWE’s Annual Conference. (NSF #1548200)
- NSF funds the 50K Coalition, a collaborative effort SWE is involved with the goal of increasing the number of graduating 50,000 engineering students from underrepresented backgrounds annually by 2025. (NSF # 1649355)
Primary Sources and Budget Documents:
As always, SWE is committing to reviewing primary source documents and working with partners who engage with factual analysis. To learn more about the proposed budget