FY 2004 Budget Request: Science Education Programs

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Publication date: 
13 February 2003

Federal support for science education programs is spread across many departments and agencies, including the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Energy. This FYI addresses the FY 2004 budget request for the science and math education programs of NSF and the Education Department.

Because funding levels for FY 2003 have not yet been enacted, it is difficult to place the FY 2004 request in context. One way to look at the FY 2004 request is to compare it to the FY 2002 appropriations level, which is based on a final appropriation, to see how funding would change over the two-year period. Below, the FY 2004 request has been compared with both the FY 2003 request and the FY 2002 appropriation.

Under the Administration's FY 2004 request, NSF's total Education and Human Resources Activity would see an increase from both the FY 2003 request and the FY 2002 appropriation. Within this Activity, NSF's Elementary, Secondary, and Information Education programs would be cut substantially compared to both the FY 2002 funding level and the FY 2003 request, while the Graduate Education programs would receive a significant increase by both measures. Results are mixed for some of NSF's other education programs. Funding for NSF's Math and Science Partnerships program would remain equal to the FY 2003 request, and greater than the FY 2002 appropriation. The request for the complementary Math and Science Partnerships within the Department of Education would remain unchanged from the FY 2003 request and the FY 2002 appropriation.

Administration budget documents describe the Math and Science Partnership programs as follows: "The President's goal of improving the quality of math and science education in Grades K-12 continues to be pursued through the Math and Science Partnerships (MSP) Initiative, which supports school districts to form partnerships with institutions of higher education, allowing scientists and engineers to be part of the solution in improving student math and science achievement. The budget provides $200 million for this initiative at the National Science Foundation and $12.5 million at the Department of Education."


Education within NSF is supported by the Education and Human Resources (EHR) Activity. This activity "supports education, research, and infrastructure development in all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines," according to NSF budget documents. "NSF is the principal federal agency charged with promoting science and engineering (S&E) education at all levels and in all settings.... EHR's education and research programs are aligned with Administration priorities as outlined in the "No Child Left Behind Act" and the Administration's interagency priorities for R&D."

The FY 2004 request for the EHR activity is $938.0 million, an increase of 8.3% from the FY 2002 appropriation and of 3.3% from the FY 2003 request. For fiscal year 2004, the EHR activities will be targeted toward four broad goals: attracting U.S. citizens to STEM careers and preparing the next generation of STEM professionals; improving public scientific and technological literacy; developing "the capacity to promote participation (diversity) and achievement in STEM consistently and effectively;" and supporting the recruitment, retention and retraining of the STEM workforce. Within the FY 2004 EHR request are the following programs:

- Math and Science Partnership: $200.0 million; up 33.3% from the FY 2002 appropriation; equal to the FY 2003 request. Within this program will be funded a new MSP Teacher Institutes for the 21st Century initiative.

- EPSCoR: $75.0 million; down 17.3% from the FY 2002 appropriation; equal to the FY 2003 request. The request supports research infrastructure improvement, co-funding of research and education proposals, and outreach efforts.

- Elementary, Secondary and Informal Education: $194.5 million; down 7.7% from the FY 2002 appropriation; down 8.1% from the FY 2003 request. Activities supported by the FY 2004 request include instructional and assessment materials development, teacher development, Centers for Learning and Teaching, a continuum of professional experiences for pre- and in-service teachers, Presidential Awards in science and math teaching, and informal science education.

- Undergraduate Education: $142.1 million; down 0.4% from the FY 2002 appropriation; up 4.8% from the FY 2003 request. Activities supported under Curriculum, Laboratory and Instructional Development include the STEM Talent Expansion Program, the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, the National STEM Education Digital Library, the NSF Director's Awards for Distinguished Teaching Scholars, and course, curriculum and laboratory improvements. Activities supported under Workforce Development include Scholarships for Service to protect the nation's critical cyber and information infrastructure, improvements in technician education, Teacher Professional Continuum initiative, and Higher Education Centers for Learning and Teaching.

- Graduate Education: $156.9 million; up 48.0% from the FY 2002 appropriation; up 22.2% from the FY 2003 request. The requested increase for FY 2004 would help achieve greater diversity and increased support levels for the Graduate Research Fellowships.

- Human Resources Development: $103.4 million; up 6.6% from the FY 2002 appropriation; up 14.6% from the FY 2003 request. This request supports programs for historically black and tribal colleges and universities, Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, gender equity and disabilities programs, Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology, and other programs.

- Research, Evaluation and Communication: $66.2 million; down 4.1% from the FY 2002 appropriation; down 1.5% from the FY 2003 request. The request supports research into learning and education, and the Interagency Education Research Initiative.

The FY 2004 budget request for NSF and supporting materials are available at http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/bud/fy2004/toc.htm.


Within the Department of Education, the Math and Science Partnership is the only program dedicated specifically to the improvement of science and math education. Additionally, funding for recruitment, support and professional development of teachers in all fields is available through the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants.

- Mathematics and Science Partnerships: $12.5 million; equal to FY 2002 appropriation and to FY 2003 request.

By law, the Education Department's Math and Science Partnership program must be funded at $100 million or more for the funds to be distributed to all states by formula grant, as intended in the authorizing legislation. However, this program only received $12.5 million in its first year and, in fact, administration of the Education Department's partnerships was combined with that of the similar NSF partnership program in FY 2002. The FY 2004 request would maintain the program at its current funding level. According to Education Department budget documents, "For 2004, grants will focus on intensive summer institutes for teachers at elementary and middle-school levels."

- Improving Teacher Quality State Grants: $2,850.0 million, equal to FY 2002 appropriation and the FY 2003 request.

The FY 2004 budget request for the Education Department and supporting materials are available at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OUS/Budget04/index.html.

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