FY 2018 Federal Budget Update

April 2018

The FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Last month, President Trump signed the omnibus appropriations bill into law, a measure that incorporates all 12 appropriations bills for FY 2018.

The spending levels of the Omnibus bill stand in sharp contrast to the Administration’s budget proposals, which called for steep cuts to almost all domestic programs while increasing the Department of Defense budget for FY 2018. The University had taken strong positions on many of the most important US Department of Education program cuts, urging members of Congress to understand the impact of cuts to student aid programs.

The bill provides many increases for student aid and research grant programs. These funding levels are critical in saving many programs of interest and concern to the students and research faculty at the University and are listed below.

Department of Education

  • The omnibus maintains funding of the discretionary portion of the Pell Grant program at $22.475 billion while increasing the maximum Pell Grant award by $175 to $6,095.
  • The Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is funded at $840 million which is a $107 million increase from FY2017. At UAlbany, the SEOG program currently serves 1,457 students who annually receive approximately $526,000.
  • Instead of eliminating the GEAR-UP program as the Administration was proposing, the GEAR-UP program is funded at $350 million, up $10 million from FY 2017.
  • The TRIO programs are funded at $1 billion, up $50 million from FY 2017. Traditionally, TRIO has served approximately over 200 UAlbany students, with the University previously receiving $1.2 million over five years.
  • The Federal Work Study program receives a $140 million increase from FY 2017 resulting in a total of $1.130 billion in appropriations.
  • The Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GANN) is cut by $5 million from the $23 million in FY 2017.
  • The International Education and Foreign Language Studies (Title VI) is at level funding of $72 million in FY 2018.
  • The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) receives an increase of $8 million to $613 million.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) – $37.1 billion, an increase of $3 billion, or 8.8 percent, above FY 2017. The bill includes:

  • $1.8 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research, a $414 million increase;
  • $500 million for a new initiative to research opioid addiction, development of opioids alternatives, pain management, and addiction treatment;
  • $400 million for the BRAIN Initiative to map the human brain, a $140 million increase;
  • $357.6 million for the Institutional Development Award, a $17.2 million increase;
  • $290 million for the All of US precision medicine study, a $60 million increase;
  • $513 million to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, a $50 million increase;
  • $542.8 million for the Clinical and Translational Science Award, a $26.7 million increase;
  • $12.6 million for the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act;
  • $100 million for research on the universal flu vaccine;
  • Increases to every Institute and Center to continue investments in innovative research to advance fundamental knowledge and speed the development of new therapies, diagnostics, and preventive measures to improve the health of all Americans;
  • Prohibition on capping Facilities & Administrative costs.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) – Title VII and Title VIII will see a spending package of a huge increase for HRSA workforce programs with funding of $646 million, a $107 million increase over FY 2017.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is funded at $334 million, a $10 million increase from FY 2017.

Public Health Preparedness and Response – The bill includes additional funding for critical preparedness and response activities:

  • Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) – $537 million, $25 million above FY 2017 levels. BARDA is responsible for advanced research and development of medical countermeasures for national preparedness efforts.
  • Project BioShield – $710 million, $200 million above FY 2017, to enhance national preparedness activities by procuring medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.
  • Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) – $670 million, $10 million above FY 2017, to help states to prepare, respond, and recover from emerging threats such as natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.
  • National Disaster Medical System – $57 million, $7.5 million above FY 2017. Improving the preparedness of Disaster Medical Assistance Teams will allow HHS to respond more quickly to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – $1.2 billion for NIST, $247 million above the FY 2017 enacted level. This amount includes a $10 million increase over the FY 2017 level for the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Targeted funding will continue to support our nation’s cybersecurity posture through cutting-edge research, expanded advanced manufacturing opportunities, and the promotion of high quality standards to maintain fairness in the marketplace. Funding for NIST includes continued support for Manufacturing USA, which fosters public-private partnerships through a network of manufacturing institutes to advance US manufacturing capabilities.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – $5.9 billion, $234 million above the FY 2017 enacted level. The bill provides full funding for NOAA’s flagship weather satellites, which are critical for accurate weather warnings to protect lives and property. Increased funding is provided for the National Weather Service to address failing infrastructure at its Weather Forecast Offices across the country. Furthermore, the bill provides funding to procure an additional Hurricane Hunter to provide backup for future hurricane reconnaissance missions.

National Science Foundation (NSF) – $7.77 billion for NSF, $295 million above the FY 2017 enacted level and $1.1 billion above the request. Funding is provided for basic research across scientific disciplines to support the development of effective Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs. $171 million is provided for the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), $11 million above the FY 2017 enacted level and $71 million above the request.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) – $152 million, a $3 million increase over the FY 2017 enacted level, for each Endowment.

Department of Defense (Research)

Science & Technology
The bill includes $14.86 billion for Defense S&T, an $853 million, or 6.1 percent, increase from FY 2017.

S&T, Basic Research
The bill provides $2.34 billion for S&T Basic Research, a $67 million increase from FY 2017.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
The omnibus includes $3.072 billion for DARPA, a $183 million increase from FY 2017.

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January 2018

At the Federal level, our office is following several important issues, including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) that was signed into law. There are several provisions that affect higher education, including a new tax on the endowments of some private colleges and universities, a limit on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction that may result in decreased state funding for public higher education institutions, and changes to higher education finance in the use of bond financing and the application of the unrelated business income. We will be following these two issues as they have implications on the State Budget.

What was dropped from the final bill were two negative provisions – a repeal of a number of benefits helping students and families finance a college education, including the Student Loan Interest Deduction, and the taxation on tuition waivers for graduate and post doc researchers.

The Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization is moving through Congress. The bill is known as the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act (PROSPER Act). We, and many higher education associations, feel that this bill as it stands now would make college significantly more expensive for students and make students and taxpayers more vulnerable to poor-performing programs and institutions, with significant cuts in student aid.

The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act could present an opportunity to increase access, affordability, and completion for students while advancing the long-term prosperity of our nation. The bill’s proposed eliminations of the in-school interest subsidy on undergraduate loans, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG), and Graduate PLUS loans are of concern. The creation of a Pell “bonus” in the legislation to encourage on-time completion is positive, but unfortunately does not extend the mandatory inflation adjustment for Pell Grants. The bill also eliminates Federal Work Study eligibility for graduate students. The legislation for the first time would open eligibility for Pell Grants to short-term programs, without accountability and exploding the costs of the Pell program.

PROSPER would effectively cut education and aid programs through authorization levels, impacting many programs critical to students and public universities, including TRIO, GEAR UP, Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, and some Title VI international education programs.

We will continue to follow and report on provisions of this bill.