Restructuring Federal STEM Funding

Under President Obama’s FY2014 funding request, federal STEM funding could be substantially restructured and streamlined, part of a broader goal to create a “cohesive national STEM education strategy” at every level – K-12, undergraduate, graduate and informal education. The $3.1 billion total request for STEM education is 6.7 percent increase from the FY2012 funded level.

Currently falling under several science-focused agencies, the proposal consolidates STEM funding under three agencies: K-12 programs under the Department of Education ($814 million – a 53.9 percent increase from FY2012’s $529 million); undergraduate and graduate programs under the National Science Foundation ($1,243 million – a 7.7 percent increase from FY2012’s $1,154 million) and community outreach/informal education under the Smithsonian Institution ($25 million; this is the first year the Smithsonian Institution has had STEM education funding).

The proposal also eliminates or reorganizes more than half of current programs, bringing the total number of federal STEM programs to 112 from 226 and significantly reducing funding for STEM programs under several agencies, including NASA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, and Transportation.

Significant areas of investment include:

STEM-Focused K-12 Education

  • $150 million to create STEM Innovation Networks, a competitive grant program linking school districts with STEM resources  to bolster student engagement and support teacher professional development
  • $300 million for High School Redesign Grants supporting STEM partnerships between high schools and colleges and employers
  • $1.1 billion to better align high school curriculum with STEM workforce needs and postsecondary opportunities
  • $1 billion for Race to the Top grants
  • $215 million for the Investing in Innovation (i3) program designed to scale-up evidence-based STEM education resources. This funding will also support ARPA-ED, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-ED); this agency, modeled after similar programs in the Departments of Energy and Defense, was initially proposed in the President’s FY 2012 request and is aimed at developing educational technology and related resources

Teacher Training and Recruitment

  • $80 million to train 100,000 STEM teachers
  • $35 million for a pilot STEM Master Teacher Corps program
  • $149.7 million for the Effective Teaching and Learning STEM program, aimed at implementing strategies to promote high-quality STEM instruction

Undergraduate and Graduate STEM Education

  • $495.3 million for undergraduate programs, including $123.1 million for the new CAUSE (Catalyzing Advances in Undergraduate STEM Education) grant program to increase retention of undergraduate STEM students and improve undergraduate STEM teaching
  • $453.2 million for graduate and professional programs, a substantial 21 percent increase over the $373.6 million FY 2012 enacted level aimed at better preparing US engineers and scientists. The request includes $325 million for the NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship program

While all the requested expenditures may not make it through the budget process, the Administration’s budget does make clear the growing emphasis on STEM education and the focus at the federal level on both streamlining and increasing funding for STEM programs. If your company is looking for a guide in navigating the government funding landscape, contact us at Arc – rita [at] – for more information.