Mr. Bakke Goes to Washington

Bob Bakke in front of the Capitol in
Washington, D.C.
I just returned from Washington, D.C., where I presented at the annual meeting of the National Council of University Research Administrators. What a time. I arrived in Washington on Election Day. Between the final budget, commonly referred to as the Omnibus Budget Bill for Fiscal Year 1999, and the election results, those of us who work in Sponsored Programs left Washington with a very optimistic sense about future federal funding opportunities for grants and contracts. In sum, I bring good tidings from the nation's capital.

What follows is a preliminary review of agency and program budgets of special interest to California State University, Chico. However, this is only a partial view of the federal budget, much of which has yet to be detailed by departments. Importantly, the good news affects almost all agencies. Our challenge now is to take advantage of these opportunities.

I strongly encourage you to take advantage of these times and consider seeking federal support for your scholarship, research, special project, or other enterprise. The odds have never been better.

To begin with, the budget for the Department of Education increased over 12 percent, to a new total of $33.2 billion. This follows a 12 percent increase last fiscal year. New initiatives in teacher education, teacher recruitment, and the GEAR UP program (supportive services aimed at helping disadvantaged students stay in school and prepare for postsecondary education), and K-12 support and training were all part of the good news for education. Support for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) doubled under the new budget to $50 million! The TRIO Programs, including Upward Bound and Talent Search, were boosted to $600 million, up over 13percent from last year.

Funds for the National Science Foundation have increased by over 5 percent, to $3.7 billion. Last week, Rita R. Cowell, the foundation's new director, quickly announced new agency priorities under this budget: improving science and mathematics education, especially for K-12; information-technology research; and integrating research in the life, physical, and social sciences. Funding for NSF research support is up significantly, across all the directorates, divisions, and programs.

The biggest winners in this year's budget were the National Institutes of Health, enjoying an overall increase of 15 percent, to $15.6 billion. Opportunities for comprehensive, regional universities, such as CSU, Chico, include programs in the Institute of Child Health and Human Development ($100 million in new funding), the Institute of Mental Health ($125 million in new funding), and the National Institute on Aging (up $78 million from last year). Specific programs of interest to CSU, Chico include $925 million for community health centers, $700 million for maternal and child health grants, $105 million for Healthy Start, and $38.9 million for rural health centers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also received substantial budget increases USDA's National Research Initiative (a critical research program for institutions like Chico) for agricultural, forest, and related environmental sciences received a major funding boost, to $119 million.

Funding support for the National Endowments, for the Humanities and Arts, remained steady at $110.7 million and $98 million respectively. The budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting increased by 13 percent, to $340 million. The Corporation for National Service (Americorps) received an increase of $29.4 million, up 4 percent. All of these programs had been targeted for severe reductions or outright elimination by Congress this year.

The good news is here. Now is the time to begin planning your next proposal. Please come by our office and learn more about these new opportunities. We are located in Kendall Hall, room 111. For further information, you can also call us at x5700, e-mail any of our staff, or visit our home page at

Robert J. Bakke

Office of Sponsored Programs

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