Spending Bill Spares Education Research Funding from Major Cuts
December 2014

Congress passed an appropriations bill for the remainder of the 2015 fiscal year (FY) during the week of December 8, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. A short-term continuing resolution had funded the government through December 11.

The Bipartisan Budget Act—nicknamed "Cromnibus" since it combined numerous spending bills and a short-term continuing resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security—was signed by President Obama on February 16.

Given the low spending ceiling of the new budget, also known as the Ryan-Murray budget, the science agencies that fund education research made it through relatively unscathed. Perhaps more important, there were no amendments or detrimental language targeting the social and behavioral sciences.

FY 2015 appropriations for the three primary agencies that fund education research:

  • Institute of Education Sciences. $573.94 million, a decrease of $3 million over FY 2014. The National Center for Education Research, the National Center for Special Education Research, and the National Center for Education Statistics, as well as R&D and the Regional Education Labs, are flat-funded. The National Assessment of Educational Progress was cut by $3 million.

  • National Science Foundation. $7.34 billion, an increase of $172.3 million over FY 2014. The Directorate for Education and Human Resources received a boost, moving from $846.5 million in FY 2014 to $866 million in FY 2015.

  • National Institutes of Health. $30.1 billion, an increase of $150 million over FY 2014. Most NIH institutes and centers were flat-funded, but two received a small boost, including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which gained 0.31%.

The Obama administration’s proposed budget for FY 2015 was significantly higher than the final bill in several budget lines. The administration’s request would have more than doubled the funding for state education data systems, from almost $35 million to $70 million. The administration also requested an increase of nearly $20 million for the National Center for Education Statistics.

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