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The Stimulus program benefits higher education, most notably through increases in Pell and research grants. It is still unclear at this time how the allotments will affect individual universities.

Various Funds Support Higher Education
Objective: Direct dollars to the primary target areas of student aid, training  and research
Amount Available: $34 Billion +
Who's Eligible:

Institutions of higher education; College students and others

How and When: Refer to recovery.gov sites for deadlines for these multiple programs.
At present, the following funding sources are relevant to higher education.

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF)
  • States will receive SFSF funds from the Department of Education, and the states will apply a portion of those funds toward publically funded institutes of higher education (IHE);
  • IHEs will be required to use these funds to mitigate the need to raise tuition and fees for in-state students;
  • SFSF monies are to be used for modernization, renovation, and repair of facilities used primarily for instruction, research, or student housing, including projects consistent with a recognized green building rating system;
  • Allocation decisions of Government Services funds within SFSF are made by the state governors’ offices; the allocation categories may include modernization, renovation, or repair to public IHEs, as well as modernization, renovation, or repair to other private, or non-profit IHEs.
Teacher Quality Enhancement (TQE) - $100 Million
Teacher Quality programs are intended to make lasting changes in the ways teachers are recruited, prepared, licensed, and supported. One clear goal of these grants is supporting efforts to reduce shortages of qualified teachers in high-need school districts. Another goal is to create partnerships among institutions of higher learning to create model teacher preparation programs.

The TQE program includes three types of discretionary grants. Each grant type brings a unique approach to improving teacher preparation programs throughout the country:

State Grants
State grants seek to promote statewide teacher preparation reform activities through the linkage of K-12 and higher education institutions to stimulate systemic policy and practice changes in such areas such as teacher preparation, certification and licensing, and practice. Grant activities focus on providing, encouraging, enhancing, (or improving):

  • Content knowledge;
  • Teaching methods;
  • Technology preparation;
  • Future teachers’ clinical experiences;
  • Mentoring new teachers;
  • Recruiting teachers for high-need schools;
  • Meaningful teacher accountability;
  • High-quality professional development activities for both new and experienced teachers.

Partnership Grants
Partnership grants seek to raise student achievement and improve learning by bringing about fundamental change and improvement in teacher preparation programs. Grant activities focus on:

  • Increasing teachers' academic content preparation;
  • Integrating research-based teaching methods into the education curriculum;
  • Providing sustained pre-service clinical or field experiences;
  • Creating opportunities for professional development activities that improve content knowledge and strengthen teaching skills.

Recruitment Grants
Recruitment grants seek to assist in teacher recruitment reforms at the state and higher education levels. Applicants must identify critical needs for recruiting and preparing highly qualified teachers. Project activities are expected to:

  • Develop strategies to improve capacity to hire and retain highly qualified teachers;
  • Focus on identifying pools of potential teachers who can meet these critical needs and then recruit teachers from these pools;
  • Design high-quality preparation and induction programs based on the best current research to prepare them.

Student Aid:
  • Pell Grants ($17 Billion): These grants, which are sponsored by the federal government, are awarded based upon student need and do not require repayment. Maximum grant amounts per student can change depending on the amount of money available in the program. The 2009 Stimulus program has increased Pell Grant per-student maximums from $4,731 in the 2008/09 academic year to $5,400 by 2012. The final Stimulus bill includes $17.1 billion to eliminate a shortfall caused by an increase of students applying and qualifying for Pell Grant assistance.
  • Federal Work-Study Programs (FWS, $200 Million): Institutions can provide part-time jobs for in-need students to cover tuition and college expenses by way of federal government funding.
  • Tuition Tax Credits ($17 Billion): Based upon an adjusted gross income, each eligible student enrolled in a college is entitled to a $1,800 nonrefundable credit called the HOPE Tax Credit. The Stimulus bill has provisionally replaced the Hope Tax Credit by instituting a 40% refundable $2,500 credit available for four years of college.
  • 529 Savings Plans: The new Stimulus bill allows computers (2009 and 2010 tax years only) to qualify as chartered expenses under the 529 Savings Plan, a non-taxable federal college savings program.

Selected Research and Science Programs:
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH, $8.5 Billion): $7 billion for biomedical research and $1.5 billion to renovate university research facilities
  • National Science Foundation (NSF, $3 Billion): For basic research in science and engineering
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, $610 Million): Congress appropriates $580 million directly to NIST for the discovery of technology innovations; the remaining $30 million is distributed to other federal agencies that will ultimately funnel the dollars back to NIST as the institute carries out agency-supporting projects
The following NIST sub-funds have been allocated:
  • $360 million is reserved for NIST's Construction of Research Facilities (CRF) appropriation. Half of that total is designated for NIST infrastructure, including construction projects that create new jobs, improve energy and operational efficiency, and spur innovation by advancing NIST research through improved facilities. The remaining 50% comprises a competitive construction grant program for funding science research facilities outside of NIST. This funding will provide construction jobs and lead to sustained economic growth by advancing U.S. leadership in science and technology.
  • $220 million is reserved for NIST's Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) for NIST laboratory research, competitive grants, additional research fellowships, and advanced research/measurement equipment and supplies. These funds will support economic growth and U.S. innovation priorities in science and technology.
  • $20 million is transferred from the Department of Health and Human Services to NIST for standards-related research that supports the development of electronic medical records to reduce healthcare costs and improve healthcare quality.
  • $10 million is transferred from the Department of Energy to NIST to perform research through the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (PL 110-140). This funding supports collaborative efforts with industry and federal agencies in the electric power space to develop a comprehensive framework for a nationwide, fully interoperable smart grid.

Funding of new Principal Investigators and high-risk, high-return research will be top priorities. With the exception of the Academic Research Infrastructure Program, the Science Masters Program, and the Major Research Instrumentation Program, the majority of proposals eligible for Stimulus program funding include those that are already in-house and will be reviewed and/or awarded prior to Sept. 30, 2009. NSF also will consider proposals declined on or after Oct. 1, 2008.


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