Fiscal Year 2021 Federal Budget
As provided by APLU
On March 11, President Biden signed H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), into law. The $1.9 trillion package includes funding for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Standards and Technology, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Education Sciences, and more.
After nearly 15 hours of debate, the Senate approved the FY2021 budget resolution to unlock reconciliation by a vote of 51-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. The House passed the measure on a 219-209 vote last Friday. The resolution directs authorizing committees to draft sections of a budget reconciliation bill that will be based on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal.
With the resolution clearing both chambers, authorizing committees are beginning to markup pieces of the $1.9 trillion legislation this week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters she hopes to have a bill ready for the Senate in two weeks.
As this process is rapidly moving, APLU continues to work with its higher education partners to educate congressional members on the importance of relief funding for institutions of higher education and research relief for federal science agencies.
The House advanced the FY2021 budget resolution to unlock reconciliation by a vote of 218-212. The resolution directs authorizing committees to draft sections of a budget reconciliation bill that contains President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal. A summary of the resolution is available here.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a virtually identical resolution in the Senate earlier this week. On Tuesday, senators voted on party line to move forward with debate, jumpstarting 50 hours of floor debate. This will then be followed by "vote-a-rama" in the Senate where senators will have the opportunity to offer an unlimited number of amendments to the resolution as long as amendments are relevant to the budget.
A group of ten Senate Republicans have urged President Biden to scale back his proposal and have put forward a $618 billion alternative with a request to negotiate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have vowed to move forward with the $1.9 trillion proposal, arguing it is better to go too big than too small. However, it is unclear if Leader Schumer will able to get every single Democratic vote in the Senate to advance the legislation given controversial provisions in the bill, including a $15 minimum wage requirement and the income threshold for $1,400 stimulus checks. President Biden indicated the $15 wage requirement is a red line in negotiations but has not said whether he is willing to negotiate on the income threshold for eligible Americans to receive stimulus checks.
Although the House advanced the chamber’s budget resolution, it will likely need to vote again to adopt a final resolution if the Senate makes changes to the measure.
Shortly following his inauguration, President Biden issued a series of executive orders (EO) repealing a number of Trump administration policies impacting higher education. Of interest, the President withdrew the EO restricting diversity training for federal contractors and grantees; extended student loan relief through September; directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take appropriate measures to fortify DACA and to ensure DACA recipients are protected from deportation; rescinded the travel bans; revoked the EO excluding undocumented populations from the census; and more. APLU released a statement hailing the executive orders while noting its interest in working with the administration to strengthen the mission of public universities.
President-elect Joe Biden revealed his COVID-19 relief plan, the American Rescue Plan. Totaling approximately $1.9 trillion, the plan aims to mount a national vaccination program to contain COVID-19 and safely reopen schools, support communities impacted by the pandemic, and provide immediate relief to working families. Of particular interest to the CGA, the plan contains $170 billion for education, comprising of $35 billion for public institutions of higher education, including community colleges, as well as public and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. $130 billion will be allocated to K-12 to help schools safely reopen. The remaining $5 billion will be designated for the Governors Emergency Relief Fund to support educational programs and the learning needs of students significantly impacted by COVID-19.
While the plan indicates schools will be able to access FEMA Disaster Relief Fund resources to get reimbursement for certain COVID-19 related expenses, it does not specify if the Fund will be available to colleges and universities.
The plan does not include research relief funding for federal science agencies or liability protections for businesses.
President Trump signed H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, into law on December 27, 2020. The $2.3 trillion package includes $900 billion for COVID relief and $1.4 trillion to fund the government through September 30, 2021. The package also contains numerous policy provisions of interest to APLU institutions, including the FAFSA Simplification Act, restoration of Pell Grants for incarcerated students, relief for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through the forgiveness of existing HBCU Capital Financing Loans, Energy Act of 2020, provisions creating a new process for adjudication of copyright infringement claims, tax extenders, and guidance for international students related to COVID-19.
APLU Analysis of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021
Following months of deadlocked negotiations, Congress finally reached a deal on a Phase IV COVID-19 relief package, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (section by section summary), this past weekend. The $900 billion package provides $22.9 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to assist students and institutions of higher education impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic including funding for HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions, $4.05 billion for the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund, $22 billion allocated directly to states for vaccine development and distribution, testing and tracing, and COVID-19 mitigation programs, increased SNAP benefits, and broadband assistance for qualified households, including Pell Grant recipients.
APLU’s Office of Data and Policy Analysis has generated a data tool with projections of funding by institution. This is our best estimate as to how the funds will be distributed.
For months, Democrats sought $1 billion in direct aid to state and local governments to tackle the pandemic while Republicans advocated for liability protections. Despite months of intense negotiations, both sides failed to reach an agreement on these issues. Additionally, the bill does not include relief funding for federal research agencies (over $1 billion is appropriated to NIH for COVID-19 research).
APLU Analysis of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021
Yesterday, Congress passed the $1.4 trillion FY2021 Omnibus Appropriations bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, to fund the federal government through the end of the current fiscal year (September 30, 2021). The bill provides slight increases for most higher education and research programs of interest to APLU institutions.
The APLU Governmental Affairs staff has developed detailed analyses of funding levels and policy provisions of interest, including immigration provisions, key scientific bills, copyright claims, and more.
The APLU Appropriations Priorities Chart has been updated to reflect congressional action. The appropriations chart includes comparisons to APLU requests, the President’s Budget Request, percentage increases compared to FY2020, and other important context.
APLU Analysis of the FAFSA Simplification Act
The year-end package also includes the FAFSA Simplification Act, which makes key changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Pell eligibility, and the HBCU Capital Financing Program. The bill provisions generally take effect on July 1, 2023, for award year 2023-24. The 2023-24 FAFSA will be available for completion on October 1, 2022.
APLU has prepared a detailed analysis of the bill, including significant changes to the federal need analysis formula.
Congress Passes Vets Package, Including Protect the GI Bill Act
Last week, the House passed by voice vote the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, a comprehensive package focusing on veteran education and healthcare, which includes the text of the Protect the GI Bill Act. The Senate passed the measure by unanimous consent on December 9. The bill text of the 350-page package is available here.
APLU has developed a summary of the provisions included in the comprehensive bill. The provisions included from the Protect the GI Bill Act make many changes to how higher education benefits are administered at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), including requiring the VA to implement a new dual certification process for students to receive VA education benefits, creating new risk-based surveys to conduct oversight, and more. Staff addressed a major concern that would have required institutions to provide monthly certification reports to the VA. One key issue that remains is a provision that makes colleges liable for any overpayment to a veteran for tuition and fees—colleges would need to pay this money back to the VA (Sec. 1019). While the bill includes changes that are aimed at reducing overpayments, this change is still highly problematic.
Beyond the provisions included from the Protect the GI Bill Act, the comprehensive vets package includes several additional education provisions, including a requirement for all public institutions to provide in-state tuition for GI Bill students regardless of when a veteran separated.
The FY2021 president’s budget request (PBR), A Budget for America’s Future, proposes $4.4 trillion in projected spending cuts over the next 10 years. The request would allow defense spending to rise by $2.5 billion next year, to $740.5 billion, as called for in last summer's bipartisan budget deal. However, the PBR proposes to cut nondefense discretionary spending instead of allowing for an increase of less than 1 percent. Trump's request includes only $600 billion for nondefense spending, which amounts to a cut of roughly 5 percent from the Fiscal Year 2020 level of base nondefense discretionary spending.
Much like previous PBRs, this budget proposes eliminating a number of APLU priority higher education and research programs, including Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, GEAR UP, Title VI International Education, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Within accounts, the PBR prioritizes artificial intelligence, quantum information sciences, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, and 5G. The budget proposes large increases for key industries, including doubling AI and quantum information sciences R&D by 2022 as part of an all-of-government approach.
The administration’s FY2021 budget documents provide additional information.
Below is information collected from the budget request about programs of interest, in alphabetical order by department/agency. This analysis uses the FY2020 enacted levels as a comparison to the PBR FY2021 numbers.
Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The President’s Budget Request for FY2021 prioritizes a modern data network system across USDA, competitive and biodefense research, 4-H and agricultural literacy, and innovations like artificial intelligence development for agriculture. The budget request boosts the budget for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) by 11% overall, or by $95 million, to $968 million.
Unfortunately, the budget would significantly cut the fundamental capacity programs that keep research stations functioning, provides cooperative funding for county Extension offices, allows for a core group of research and Extension faculty to be employed, furthers basic and applied research for our national forests and supports basic facilities running at the nation’s Land-Grant Universities including 1890 Institutions, and 1994 Tribal Colleges:
Hatch Act (State Agricultural Experiment Stations): FY2021 PBR is $243M, a 6% cut (FY2020 $259M)
Smith Lever (Extension Activities): FY2021 PBR is $299M, a 5% cut (FY2020 $315M)
Evans-Allen (1890s Research and Education): FY2021 PBR is $54M, a 19.4% cut (FY2020 $67M)
1890 Institutions Extension Services: FY2021 PBR is $49M, a 14% cut (FY2020 $57M)
McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry: FY2021 PBR is $29M, a 19% cut (FY2020 $36M)
Research Grants for 1994 Institutions: FY2021 PBR is $4M, a 5% increase
It prioritizes competitive research through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), supporting it at $600 million, a $175 million (41% increase) over FY2020 enacted. This includes $100 million for artificial intelligence (AI) programs to support emerging technologies such as machine learning as applied to agriculture and to enhance application of advanced technology in agricultural systems across all scales of production.
The USDA budget supports the Administration’s initiative to promote excellence and innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by including $10 million for scholarships for students studying agriculture at historically black land-grant institutions. The budget request doesn’t specify levels for competitive grants for facilities and the Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative.,
The Budget proposes $1.3 billion for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), which conducts in-house basic and applied research. This includes funding for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, currently near completion in Manhattan, Kansas. This state-of-the-art facility will provide the United States the ability to conduct comprehensive research, develop vaccines, and provide enhanced diagnostic capabilities to protect against emerging foreign animal and zoonotic diseases that threaten the nation’s food supply, agricultural economy, and public health. Also, at ARS is the $35 million for new initiatives on precision agriculture research, long-term agroecosystems research, artificial intelligence innovations for agriculture production, and research on managing excess water and controlling erosion.
Department of Commerce
The FY2021 Budget requests $7.9 billion for Commerce, a $7.3 billion or 48% decrease from the 2020 enacted level, including changes in mandatory programs.
Economic Development Administration: The PBR would provide $31 million in funding to eliminate the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The Regional Innovation Program, within the EDA, received $33 million in FY2020.
National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST): The PBR would eliminate the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The PBR would provide $25 million, an increase of $9 million over FY2020, for National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), or Manufacturing USA, in FY2021. The justification notes: “Manufacturing USA, previously referred to as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, serves to create effective robust manufacturing research infrastructure for U.S. industry and academia to solve industry-relevant problems. The Manufacturing USA consists of linked Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation with common goals, but unique concentrations. In an institute, industry, academia, and government partners leverage existing resources, collaborate, and co-invest to nurture manufacturing innovation and accelerate commercialization. The Budget proposes to initiate a second NIST-funded Manufacturing USA institute while discontinuing dedicated Federal funding to the first institute.”
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): The president requests $327M for NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), a 40% cut from FY2020 enacted levels ($548M). OAR programs provide climate, weather, air chemistry, ocean and coastal research and technology with applications across NOAA's mission. To accomplish these goals, OAR supports a network of scientists in its federal research laboratories, universities, and cooperative institutes and partnership programs.
Department of Defense (DoD)
The PBR would fund DoD Science and Technology (6.1-6.3) at $13.911 billion, a 13.46% decrease from FY2020 enacted levels. The budget proposes $2.319 billion for DoD Basic Research, a 10.91% decrease from FY2020.
Under the PBR, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) would receive $3.556 billion, a $108 million increase over FY2020.
Department of Education (ED)
The budget request would provide $66.6 billion in funding for the Department of Education, $5.6 billion below the FY2020 level, an 8 percent cut in education funding.
The budget would maintain the discretionary appropriation of the Pell Grant program at $22.475 billion and retain the maximum Pell award of $6,345. Fortunately, the PBR does not include any rescissions to the Pell Grant program reserve. The PBR proposes expanding Pell Grant eligibility to “high-quality” short-term programs that lead to a credential, certification, or license in a high-demand field and restoring Pell eligibility to some incarcerated individuals, specifically those within five years of likely release. The PBR also proposing moving Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants into the Pell Grant program.
For campus-based aid programs, the PBR would eliminate the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program and significantly cut Federal Work Study (FWS) from $1.1 billion to $500 million. The request would “focus scarce funds on the neediest students,” reforming the funding formula to take into greater consideration an institution’s enrollment of Pell students. The proposal would also target the program to support workforce and career-oriented opportunities and restrict program funds to undergraduate students.
The PBR proposes to drastically restructure most Title III and V programs, with an overall reduction in funding to MSIs totaling approximately $95.4 million. Under the proposal, programs for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) would be maintained and funding would largely stay the same or see modest increases. Alternatively, programs for other Minority Serving Institutions, including all three programs supporting Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), would be eliminated. Instead, funds for those 11 eliminated programs would be merged into a single Consolidated Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI) Grant that would make formula-based awards to institutions serving large numbers of minority students.
Under the PBR, all TRIO and GEAR UP programs would be consolidated into a single block grant program, the TRIO Student Supports Block Grant program, which would receive $950 million. Activities currently funded under the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), which makes competitive grants to support migratory students in their first year of college, would also be consolidated into the new block grant program. Under this proposal, TRIO funding would see a reduction of $160 million from FY2020, $365 million in GEAR UP funding would be eliminated, and funds supporting activities funding through CAMP would be eliminated. In total, the block grant proposed in the PBR would cut more than $545 million in funding dedicated to helping students prepare, enroll, and succeed in postsecondary education.
Further, the PBR eliminates funding for Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN), International Education and Foreign Language Studies programs (Title VI), Funds for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), and Teacher Quality Partnerships.
The PBR requests $565.4 million for the Institute of Education Sciences, $58.1 million less than the FY2020 level. The request would specifically eliminate funding for Regional Education Laboratories at IES, which support the dissemination of IES-funded research, as well as technical assistance for states. The PBR would also eliminate competitive grant funding to states for developing Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems.
In addition to these funding priorities, the PBR advances a range of policy proposals impacting the Federal student aid programs. First, the PBR proposes an evaluation of the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) as a separate organization with a reformed governance structure. The administration argues that an independent FSA could significantly increase FSA’s ability to serve students and taxpayers, and that this new governance model would improve its management, oversight, and administration of the Federal student aid programs.
For student borrowing, the proposal would set aggregate loan limits on both graduate student and parent borrowers. Parent PLUS loans would be capped at $26,500. For dependent students whose parents reach this cap, those students would be eligible to borrow an additional amount up to the independent undergraduate aggregate limit of $57,500. Annual and aggregate limits of $50,000 and $100,000 respectively would be set for graduate students, not counting any undergraduate student borrowing.
The PBR would also make significant changes to the student loan programs and student loan repayment. First, the administration proposes providing one loan option to each type of borrower—undergraduates, graduates, and parents. Through this change, all undergraduate students would be made under the unsubsidized Stafford Loan program, all graduate borrowing would occur under one program with the same terms as the current Graduate PLUS program, and parent borrowing would remain the same, subject to the aggregate cap described above. Subsidized loans for undergraduate students would be eliminated. The PBR also proposes eliminating Account Maintenance Fees (AMFs) made to guarantee agencies.
The PBR proposes simplifying income-driven repayment (IDR) by consolidating existing plans into a single option, setting monthly payments at 12.5 percent of discretionary income and eliminating the standard repayment cap for borrowers. Under this proposed IDR plan, undergraduate borrowers would be eligible for forgiveness after 15 years while graduate students would be eligible after 30 years. Severely delinquent borrowers would be auto enrolled into the IDR plan, which the administration says will eliminate default for low-income students. While teacher loan forgiveness programs would be retained, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) would be eliminated.
Finally, the PBR would require institutions of higher education to take on some of the financial risk associated with federal student loans. This institutional risk sharing would be based on the loan repayment rates at each college and university.
Department of Energy (DOE)
The PBR would fund DOE’s Office of Science at $5.8 billion, a more than $1 billion cut from FY2020. The budget directs the office to focus on early-stage research, operate the national laboratories, and continue high priority construction projects.
For the fourth year in a row, the administration’s FY2020 budget proposes elimination of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy (ARPA-E) program, citing the “opportunities to integrate the positive aspects of ARPA-E into DOE’s applied energy research programs including through changes to the implementation of the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program.” ARPA-E was funded at $425 million in FY2020.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
For the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the FY2021 PBR proposes $38.7 billion, a 7.19% decrease from FY2020 enacted levels. This figure includes $404 million made available through the 21st Century Cures Act. As outlined in the PBR, the request incorporates investments to address several national priorities, “including combatting the opioid epidemic, eradicating HIV, supporting neonatal research, developing novel approaches to treating sickle cell disease, supporting the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative, increasing investments to develop a universal influenza vaccine, improving prevention and treatment of tick-borne diseases, continuing the precision medicine initiative, developing new approaches to address chronic disease with artificial intelligence, and establishing a consortium charged with innovating large-scale gene vector production.”
Similar to the FY 2018, 2019, and FY2020 PBRs, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) would be consolidated into NIH as a new institute, the National Institute for Research on Safety and Quality.
The budget request proposes the elimination of diversity pipeline and primary care training programs, as well as a decrease for nursing workforce development programs. Specifically, the PBR would provide $250 million for Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII and Title VIII programs. In FY2020, HRSA Title VII and VIII programs received $743.5 million for current and new programs.
Department of the Interior (DOI)
The PBR restructures USGS from seven to five mission areas. The restructuring of the mission areas zeroes out the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Water Resources Research Institutes and the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units.
The budget cuts hazards science by $32 million from the enacted level of $171 million in FY2020. Hazard science informs a broad range of disaster planning, situational awareness and response activities at local to global levels. APLU will continue to evaluate how the suggested restructure and budget request would impact key research, cooperative funding, and geographically relevant programs within USGS moving forward.
The PBR includes funding for the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) at $3 million. It is unclear if any funds are available through USDA’s Forest Service program.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
EPA’s FY2021 Annual Performance Plan and Budget of $6.658 billion represents a $2.399 billion or 26% percent reduction from the Agency’s FY2020 enacted budget level. The president requests $484.7 million for the Office of Science and Technology, a 32% decrease in funding below FY2020 enacted. The funds requested would support research and development activities, necessary expenses of personnel and related costs and travel expenses, procurement of laboratory equipment and supplies, and other operating expenses in support of research and development. However, the budget request eliminates the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program across all program project areas within the Science and Technology portfolio.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The PBR requests $25.5 billion for NASA, a 12% increase from FY2020. NASA’s budget provides increases for the “Moon-to-Mars campaign” and allocates funding to support many systems and programs needed to fulfil the Artemis timeline to have an American “on the lunar surface in 2024.”
Within APLU priorities, NASA Science Mission Directorate would be funded at $6.306 billion, a $599 million decrease from FY2020. The budget proposal would provide $819 million for the Aeronautics Research and Development Directorate, a $94 million increase from FY2020. The PBR renames the Space Technology account as “Exploration Technology” to “better reflect the new focus of this account on supporting the Exploration Campaign.” The PBR would fund Exploration Technology at $1.578 billion, $651 million above FY2020 enacted levels. No funding is requested for NASA STEM Engagement Program, where the Space Grant program is housed. This program received $48 million in FY2020.
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
The PBR requests $33.4 million to close the agency, stating that “Activities funded by NEH are not considered core Federal responsibilities.” The agency received an appropriation of $162.3 million in FY2020.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
The PBR requests $7.7 billion for NSF, a 7% decrease from FY2020 enacted levels. NSF’s FY2021 request supports the administration’s “Industries of the Future” research and development priorities. The budget focuses additional NSF support on artificial intelligence, quantum information science, advanced manufacturing, advanced wireless research, and biotechnology research.
Specifically, the budget proposes $6.213 billion for NSF Research and Related Activities, $524 million below the FY2020 level. NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction would receive $229.75 million under the request, which is $13.48 million below current levels. The PBR proposes $930.93 million for Education and Human Resources, a $9.07 million decrease from FY2020.
Department of State (STATE) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
The FY2021 budget requests $40.8 billion for the Department of State and USAID, an $11.7 billion or 22 percent decrease from the 2020 enacted level.
Within the section outlining suggested language for the FY2021 USAID appropriation, USAID Higher Education receives flat funding of $235 million. Higher Education Partnerships between U.S. higher education institutions and developing countries are provided not less than $35 million in support. Per the request, partnerships should focus on building the capacity of higher education institutions and systems in developing countries. The Feed the Future program is not mentioned in any of the materials related to the budget or the congressional justification.
The budget request for USAID emphasizes protecting the United States and the World from Infectious Disease Through the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and Global Health Programs. The 2021 Budget requests $2,160.1 million in the GHP-USAID account for a comprehensive and integrated approach to improve global health outcomes.
Also of note, the budget request proposes a 52 percent reduction in funding for the Department of State’s Educational and Cultural Exchange programs, despite repeated acknowledgement of the importance of these programs within the PBR given the administration’s concerns with global competition.
The budget requests $3.9 million for the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship program, a $12 million decrease from FY2020 enacted. The State Department’s justification documents note that the requested funding for Gilman will provide 700 Pell grantees with the opportunity to “acquire first-hand knowledge of key regions of the world and to master the skills to compete in the international marketplace.”
2020-2021 New York State Enacted Budget
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its current and future anticipated financial impacts, the 2020-21 Enacted Budget includes significant expanded powers for the state budget director. These powers allow for the potential reduction of appropriation levels and state spending over the course of the fiscal year. We understand that reviews will be quarterly and that the next opportunity for adjustment is July 1. We will of course monitor any budget changes and provide updates to the campus.
The budget allocates funding for a number of University at Albany strategic initiatives and programs. Through its efforts, the University successfully secured both operational and capital funding to support its academic and research mission.
Some of the highlights include:
Capital investment of $550 million is included in the budget, comparable to last year's funding level system-wide. These resources are essential to ensuring that our students, faculty and staff have access to state-of-the-art facilities expected of a modern research university.
While there was no specific appropriation for the Schuyler Building project, the University will work closely with SUNY to determine how UAlbany’s critical maintenance allocation can most effectively advance the University’s capital priorities -- the Schuyler Building foremost among them. Our efforts to identify a blend of funding to complete this critical project continue.
Additionally, $300 million ($200 million state share/$100 million campus share) is provided for a new strategic needs Capital Matching Program for priority projects, including major renovations and new construction of academic facilities at the state-operated campuses and statutory colleges. For approved projects, every $1 of campus-generated funds would leverage $2 of state support.
Despite facing a potential funding reduction, UAlbany’s NYSTAR Center of Excellence in Atmospheric and Environmental Prediction and Innovation will again receive $250,000 to continue bringing businesses and researchers together to devise innovative solutions to the problems faced by weather-sensitive industries. This Center, when fully developed, will be home to the largest concentration of atmospheric, climate, and environmental researchers in New York State and one of the largest in the nation, with more than 70 highly regarded faculty, researchers and research staff.
The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University at Albany (CARD Albany) is a university-affiliated resource center that brings research and practice together in community settings. The budget funds the Center at $1.74 million, which includes restored funding of $500,000.
Just for the Kids (NYKids) within the School of Education is the only New York-focused, evidenced-based school improvement program in the State that compares the performance of equally-resourced and similarly challenged schools, and then identifies the best practices that explain what relates to the "achievement gap" between high-achieving schools and lower-performing schools. This initiative was level-funded at $235,000.
The School of Social Welfare received level funding of $210,000 for evaluating the Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Veterans Program that uses new and innovative support interventions to help veterans with PTSD transition and reintegrate back into civilian life.
The Center for Women in Government and Civil Society received $100,000 for the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Integration Index that seeks to quantify the moderating effects of nativity status, race/ethnicity and gender in shaping socioeconomic outcomes of Puerto Rican and Hispanic residents of New York State.
The following are School of Public Health initiatives included in the Enacted Budget:
$261,600 in level funding for the Public Health Management Leaders of Tomorrow program (PHLOT), established in 2006, that strengthens the public health infrastructure across New York by providing programs (e.g., tuition awards, internship stipends, leadership training and scholarships) designed to offer novel educational opportunities to state and local public health professionals, as well as to the next generation of public health leaders at the School of Public Health.
$32,000 for Public Health Live, a monthly webcast series designed to provide continuing education opportunities on public health issues.
Excelsior Scholarship Program
Note: The enhanced implementation of the Excelsior Scholarship Program, as proposed in the Executive Budget, was omitted in the Enacted Budget.
Subject to appropriation and based on availability of funds, the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) is provided authority to establish application procedures and a method of selecting recipients to eligible students for a last dollar award of up to $5,500 (or actual tuition)
An applicant must:
be a resident of NYS and have resided in NYS for 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the term;
be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
have either graduated from high school in the United States, earned a high school equivalency diploma, or passed a federally approved “Ability to Benefit” test, as defined by the Commissioner of the State Education Department;
have a combined federal adjusted gross income of $125,000 or less;
be pursuing an undergraduate degree at a SUNY or CUNY college, including community colleges and the statutory colleges at Cornell University and Alfred University;
be enrolled in at least 12 credits per term and complete at least 30 credits each year (successively), applicable toward his or her degree program;
if attended college prior to the 2019-20 academic year, have earned at least 30 credits each year (successively), applicable toward his or her degree program prior to applying for an Excelsior Scholarship;
be in a non-default status on a student loan made under any NYS or federal education loan program or on the repayment of any NYS award;
be in compliance with the terms of the service condition(s) imposed by a NYS award that you have previously received; and
execute a Contract agreeing to reside in NYS for the length of time the award was received, and, if employed during such time, be employed in NYS.
Predictable Tuition/Maintenance of Effort (MOE)
Note: The Enacted Budget omits the extension of Predictable Tuition and Maintenance of Effort (MOE) to 2024-25, as proposed in the Executive Budget.
The SUNY Board of Trustees is authorized to increase Resident Undergraduate tuition by a maximum of $200/year from 2019/20 to 2020/21
The Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provision, enacted with the 2011/12 budget, stipulates that the State shall provide funding at a level equal to or greater than the amount of funding provided in the 2011/12 state fiscal year, starting in 2017/18 and ending in 2020/21
State responsibility to repay SUNY for paying the Excelsior Scholarship Program Tuition Credit was added to this MOE last year
Campuses continue to be responsible for the SUNY TAP Gap/Tuition Credit, which requires campuses to cover the difference between SUNY's current Resident Undergraduate Tuition Rate and $5,000
SUNY will receive approximately $708 million in direct state tax support, similar to last year; UAlbany is expected to receive approximately $56.4 million in direct state tax support for state-operated campuses, similar to last year’s level
$18 million for a sixth round of the SUNY Investment and Performance Fund
Level funding of $32.2 million for the Education Opportunity Program (EOP)
Restoration of $150,000 for the Hispanic Leadership Institute, for a total of $350,000, similar to last year
Restoration of $700,000 for the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), for a total of $2.67 million, similar to last year
Restoration of $600,000 for Graduate Diversity Fellowships, for a total of $6.6 million, similar to last year
Restoration of $500,000 for Mental Health Services/Tele-counseling Network, similar to last year's level
Mother Nature Bond Act -- approves bringing forward a $3 billion tax-exempt general obligation bond to voters in November 2020. The proceeds, to be managed by the State Comptroller, would be utilized to finance environmental improvements that preserve, enhance and restore NYS natural resources while reducing the impact of climate change.
One-time funding of approximately $5.6 million to offset the one-time costs of recently settled police-related union contract items at SUNY; a second phase of direct state tax support to offset the costs of recent salary contracts was not included
Funding was maintained at $550 million for SUNY-wide critical maintenance, with a $396.6 million lump sum for high priority critical maintenance projects to be distributed by the State University Construction Fund and $153.4 million allocated to state-operated campuses via formula, of which $9.72 million is included for UAlbany
The amount UAlbany will receive under the $396.6 million lump is uncertain at this time, though we believe many of our projects are well-timed to move quickly
Additionally, $300 million ($200 million state share/$100 million campus share) is provided for a new strategic needs Capital Matching Program for priority projects, including major renovations and new construction of academic facilities at the state-operated campuses and statutory colleges. For approved projects, every $1 of campus-generated funds would leverage $2 of state support.
Note: Language is included which amends the Infrastructure Investment Act to include the State University Construction Fund as an authorized entity to enter into design-build contracts for projects of $10 million or more. Further interpretation of the language, as well as its potential impact on the delivery of SUNY capital projects is forthcoming from SUNY.
Student Financial Aid and Support
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)
TAP is funded at $860 million, approximately $88 million less than last year's level
The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is level-funded at $32.2 million
The Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) is level-funded at $15.8 million
The Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP) is level-funded at $12 million
The Liberty Partnership Program is level-funded at $18.4 million
Requirements for Student Loan Servicers
Empowers the Department of Financial Services to create minimum standards that student debt consultants must follow
The following economic development programs were also included in the Enacted Budget:
$150 million for a tenth round of Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) funding for investment in innovative plans for regional job creation and community development;
$10.6 million for the Centers of Excellence (COE), a reduction of approximately $1.7 million from last year's level; UAlbany's COE was level-funded at $250,000;
$12.37 million for the Centers for Advanced Technology (CAT) program, a reduction of approximately $1.4 million from last year’s level;
Excelsior Jobs Program/START-UP NY extended through 2025; and
$44.9 million for the Stem Cell and Innovation Fund
Note: Funding for another round of the NYSUNY 2020 challenge grant program was omitted in the Enacted Budget.
2020-2021 New York State Executive Budget
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his budget address and released his Executive Budget for State Fiscal Year 2020-21 on January 21.
Below are elements of the Governor’s proposed budget and agenda that we believe are of interest to UAlbany, along with the University’s 2020-21 legislative requests.
The University will continue to monitor these items and provide updates as they become available over the course of this legislative session. If you are interested in learning more about any of these programs or others in the Executive Budget or UAlbany’s legislative agenda, please contact the Office of Government and Community Relations at 518-956-8163, or stop by room 104 In University Hall.