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Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson January 11, 2010

Funding rises for all universities, including land-grant institutions

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama said he would "increase research and educational funding for land-grant colleges." Land-grant colleges were made possible by the Morrill Act of 1862, which provided states with 30,000 acres of federal land that could be sold in order to establish and fund institutions of higher education focusing on agriculture and technology.

The federal budget doesn't separate out line items for land-grant colleges. However, education experts we contacted said that any increase in funding for research and education would boost land-grant colleges, in the same way a rising tide lifts all boats.

And there's little question that the Obama administration has increased such funding, both through the economic stimulus package and through regular appropriations.

The stimulus bill provided an extra $2.5 billion for "research and related activities" under the National Science Foundation, plus $400 million through the Advanced Research Projects-Energy program.

In addition, a portion of the $53.6 billion the stimulus alloted for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund is to be used for higher education. According to the bill, such funds can be used by a "public institution of higher education that receives funds ... for education and general expenditures."

Meanwhile, the regular 2010 appropriations bill for the National Science Foundation provided $6.9 billion for research and related activities, an increase of $436 million above the level for fiscal year 2009.

All told, this adds up to a Promise Kept.

Our Sources

Library of Congress, web page about the Morrill Act, accessed Jan. 11, 2010

Text of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

House and Senate Appropriations Committees, summary of fiscal 2010 appropriations bill for Commerce-Justice-Science (joint news release), Dec. 8, 2009

Text of Consolidated Appropriations Act, section on National Science Foundation, accessed Jan. 11, 2010

E-mail interview with Barry Toiv, vice president for public affairs at the Association of American Universities, Jan. 6, 2010

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