Education Research Funding Faces Severe Cuts as Sequestration Approaches
Education Research Funding Faces Severe Cuts as Sequestration Approaches

August 2012

On January 2, 2013, if Congress is unable to pass legislation to reduce the deficit in accordance with the mandates in the Budget Control Act, automatic, across-the-board reductions to FY 2013 discretionary spending programs will occur. This sequestration process requires an overall cut in spending of $1.2 trillion between 2013 and 2021. The reductions would be divided equally between defense and nondefense spending.

At a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing on July 25, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) noted that the cuts to all nondefense discretionary programs could range from 7.8%  to 17.6%, depending on the success of Republican efforts to exempt defense spending from the sequester. Estimated reductions for research agencies include:

  • $103 million from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, according to a report released by Harkin on the impacts of sequestration on programs in the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
  • $46.3–$49.9 million from the Institute of Education Sciences, according to a National Education Association report. In addition to curtailing research, these cuts would result in an estimated loss of 280 to 300 jobs.
  • $538 million from the National Science Foundation, according to Research!America. This amount is equal to 65% of the FY 2012 appropriations for the Education and Human Resources Directorate.

Responding to these potential severe cuts to education research funding, AERA joined 3,000 organizations in signing a letter urging Congress to find a solution to reduce the deficit without further cutting nondefense discretionary spending. AERA will continue to work with its coalition partners to ensure that funding for social and behavioral science research is not drastically reduced.

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