“The Fiscal Year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill represents a significant step forward in our nation’s efforts to expand access to higher education and invest in cutting edge research to help ensure the U.S. remains the global innovation leader. Through this measure, Congress is recognizing the need to ensure more Americans have the support they need to obtain a higher education while also working to prevent an innovation deficit. APLU urges Congress to pass this funding bill without further delay.
“By increasing the maximum Pell grant award, Congress is taking meaningful steps to make the dream of college a reality for more students while helping to ensure those already in college have the resources they need to continue and graduate.
“The $2 billion (6.5%) boost for NIH is the largest single increase for the agency in over a decade and will expand its ability to fund cutting edge research that will lead to new cures and treatments for diseases and illnesses. The omnibus includes a $25 million (7.7%) increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and a $279 million (5.5%) increase for the Department of Energy Office of Science. And while the increase for NSF is more modest, it also will help the U.S. develop scientific breakthroughs that will lead to new technologies and power our economy forward. These and other research investments represent important increases in our nation’s research portfolio at a time when we need such a boost to maintain our global competitive advantage and prevent an innovation deficit.
“The appropriations package reflects the benefit of added flexibility in the discretionary budget that the two-year budget deal afforded Congress. Important programs cut in either or both the House and Senate bills, such as the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, the Institute of Education Sciences, Title VI International Education, and Health Resources Services Administration Health Professions are restored. We are also very pleased that Congress is making these critical investments without subtracting from the Pell surplus which is appropriately held for the needs of future students.
“Finally, we applaud Congress for recognizing the immense contributions of our nation’s universities to the mission of the United States Agency for International Development. The bill increases the opportunities for U.S. universities to partner and help develop institutions of higher education in developing countries and supports the global food security research at U.S. universities through the Feed the Future Innovation Labs.”