On March 28, President Joe Biden released his FY23 budget proposal.
The Administration’s FY23 proposed budget to Congress sets overall spending at $5.79 trillion, including $1.61 trillion for discretionary spending. The budget request includes several budget add-ons for disaster relief, pandemic-related spending, and foreign aid for a non-defense discretionary spending total of $829.2 billion. Without add-ons, non-defense discretionary spending totals $769 billion, and defense discretionary spending totals $813.3 billion. The Department of Defense would receive $773 billion, more than $30 billion increase above FY22, excluding supplemental funds appropriated for the Ukraine effort. The administration estimates that the proposed budget would reduce deficit spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
Please note: Due to the schedule for preparing the Administration’s budget for release and the timing on final passage of the FY2022 Omnibus spending package, there are many examples of FY2023 proposed funding levels in the President’s Budget Request that are below the levels enacted by Congress. Conventional wisdom is that these apparent cuts should not be misunderstood as a request by the Administration to reduce agency budgets below the enacted level. However, it is creating confusion especially as it relates to some important research programs like the Institute of Education Sciences.
STUDENT AID AND HIGHER EDUCATION
Pell Grant: The President’s budget proposes to double the maximum Pell Grant by 2029, beginning with a $2,175 increase over the 2021-2022 award year ($900 discretionary and $1,275 mandatory), or $1,775 above the enacted FY22 level. This would set the maximum Pell Grant award of $8,670 for the award year 2023-2024.
Federal Work Study (FWS): The budget proposes $1.19 billion, the same as the FY21 level, but a decrease of $20 million or 1.7% below the FY22 enacted level.
Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG): The budget proposes $880 million, the same as the FY21 level, but a decrease of $15 million or 1.7% below the FY22 enacted level.
Federal TRIO Programs: The budget proposes $1.3 billion, a 14% increase above the FY22 enacted level, or a $200.8 million increase above the FY21 level.
Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN): The budget proposes $23.5 million, the same as the FY22 and FY21 enacted levels.
Institute of Education Sciences (IES): The proposed budget calls for $662.5 million, which includes a $20 million increase over FY2021 appropriations directed toward assessment. This is significantly less than final FY2022 appropriations, which provided $737 million for IES. Again, it is the understanding of higher education organizations that the administration will not support funding IES at less than FY2022 levels.
Title VI International Education Programs: The budget proposes $78.2 million, a decrease of 4.2% from the FY22 enacted level, or the same as the FY21 level.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
National Institutes of Health (NIH): The President’s FY23 budget includes $49 billion for NIH, including $45.129 billion for NIH’s base funding (This represents a $275 million increase over FY22) and $4 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).
National Science Foundation (NSF): The President’s budget includes $10.5 billion for NSF, a $1.65 billion or 18.7% increase above FY22 ($8.8 billion). This total includes a request of $880 million for the newly established Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate. In the FY23 budget, NSF also proposes changing the name of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) to the Directorate for STEM Education (EDU) and increasing funding by almost 18%.
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): The President’s FY23 budget includes $200.7 million for the NEH a $20.7 million or 11.5% increase above the FY22 enacted level.
Climate Research: The President’s budget prioritizes and increases investments in climate-related research across several federal agencies. The discretionary request proposes over $17 billion to fund a broad portfolio of research across multiple agencies including the Department of the Interior, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and others to improve understanding of the changing climate and inform adaptation and resilience measures. Climate research funding requests are as follows:
NSF: The budget provides more than $1.5 billion for climate and clean energy related research. NSF would fund a broad portfolio of research related to climate science and clean energy.
DOE: The budget draws on nearly every part of DOE’s wide-ranging portfolio to tackle clean energy and the climate crisis, including through funds directed to ARPA-E and foundational research through the Office of Science. The budget invests $9.2 billion in DOE clean energy research, development, and demonstration, an increase of more than 33% above FY21 enacted level.
NASA: The budget provides $2.4 billion for Earth-observing satellites and research programs and additionally provides more than $500 million to reduce climate impacts of the aviation industry through the Aeronautics program.
NOAA: The budget provides an increase of over $1.4 billion over the FY21 enacted level.
NIST: The budget provides $187 million for NIST to expand scientific and technological research at NIST.
EPA: The budget provides $11.9 billion, $2.6 billion over FY21 enacted levels.
Income Exclusion for Student Debt Relief: The President’s budget would make permanent the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) exception to the treatment of discharged loan amounts as gross income for certain qualifying student debt that is discharged after December 31, 2020 and before January 1, 2026. Under current law, a qualified student loan is a loan that was taken out for the express purpose of funding postsecondary education expenses. The tax exclusion is extended to forgiven amounts for both private and public student loans and includes loan amounts borrowed through the Parent PLUS loan program.
Higher education organizations are closely following and reacting to the prosed budget. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) preliminary analysis of the President’s Budget Request can be found here.