FY23 Omnibus includes priorities for UO and higher ed

On December 29, President Joe Biden signed into law the FY23 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which provides $1.67 trillion in discretionary appropriations and funds the federal government for the remainder of FY23 through September 30, 2023.

Topping off a consequential 117th Congress where significant investments were made in student aid, pandemic relief, research, and infrastructure, the FY2023 budget includes some record increases for student aid and progress on implementation of CHIPS & Science Act.

Thanks to the work of the Oregon delegation, the budget package also includes investments of specific interest to UO including trauma immunology research, the seismic infrastructure that supports ShakeAlert and related monitoring and research, and Institute of Education Sciences.

Notable UO coalition priorities in the Omnibus include:

Financial Aid and student success:

Pell Grant increase to $7,395 (max award), an increase of $500. This is the largest single year increase in the Pell Grant since 2009-10. About a third of UO resident students rely upon the Pell Grant to ease their cost of attendance at UO.

New Postsecondary Student Success Grants Fund is allocated $45 million for a second year of funding. The fund supports innovative practices on campuses that ensure students remain on track and earn their diploma.

Federal Work Study (FWS) is funded at $1.23 billion, a $20 million, or 1.7% increase above FY22.

Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is funded at $910 million, a $15 million, or 1.7% increase over FY22.

Federal TRIO Program is funded at $1.19 billion, a $51 million or 4.5% increase over FY22.

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) is funded at $23.5 million. Flat funding compared to FY22.

Research and Programs:

Institute of Education Sciences (IES): Funded at $807.6 million, a $70.6 million, or 9.6% increase above FY22. UO faculty are some of the top IES grant recipients in the country.

 International Education and Foreign Language Studies (Title VI): Funded at $85.7 million, a $4 million, or 4.9% increase over FY22.

Department of Energy (DOE): The omnibus provides $8.1 billion for the DOE Office of Science, an increase of $625 million, or 8.4%, above FY22. The measure also funds the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) at $470 million, a $20 million, or 4.4%, increase above FY22.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): The omnibus provides $207 million for NEH, a $27 million, or 15%, increase above the FY22 funding level.

National Institutes of Health (NIH): The omnibus provides funding for NIH at $47.5 billion, an increase of $2.31 billion, or 5.1%, increase above the FY22 level.

National Science Foundation (NSF): The omnibus provides $9.87 billion for NSF, an increase of $1.03 billion, or 11.7%, above the FY22 funding level. NSF FY23 total includes $1.03 billion in supplemental emergency funding available through FY24.

Wood Innovation Grants:  The Omnibus provides $20 million for Wood Innovation Grants, of which $2 million is for grants to develop timber professional cooperatives that will address deficiencies in wood product infrastructure. This creates competitive opportunities for the TallWood Design Institute.

Other priorities of note funded by the Omnibus:

Trauma Immunology: A competitive research program now in its second year funded by the US Department of Defense with a focus on trauma immunology was funded at $10 million. The program grew from $5 million in its first year to $10 million in its second.

Build America Bond interest subsidy continues: The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act triggered sequestration and a need for a waiver for PAYGO provisions to enable the interest subsidy to continue. This provision saves UO $1.2 mil a year in 2023 and 2024. The subsidy will need to be continued for future years.

USGS ShakeAlert / Earthquake Early Warning:  ShakeAlert, the West Coast earthquake early warning system operated jointly by the University of Oregon, University of Washington, UC Berkeley and Caltech, was fully funded at $28.6 million. UO’s Oregon Hazards Lab operates the Oregon portion of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) and   ShakeAlert. UO faculty use system sensors for additional types of scientific research.  

Joint Fire Science Program: $9 million, an increase of $1 million or 12.9%. The federal program funds scientific research on wildland fires, including research by UO social scientists.     

Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP):  $1.15 million in Community Funding/ Congressionally Directed Spending secured by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and retired Congressman Peter DeFazio. Under the auspices of the Fund for Improvement of Post-secondary Education (FIPSE), the funds will support placement of SCYP classes in communities with climate action plans.