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Policy Updates

Policy Update: House and Senate Pass America

On Aug. 3rd, the US House and Senate approved final version of the "America COMPETES Act" and has sent it to the President for his signature. If approved, this is considered a landmark piece of legislation which provides significant new funds for STEM education and for science and engineering R&D. In line with the Administration's American Competitiveness Initiative, the bill sees STEM education as a critical factor contributing to the nation's competitiveness and innovation in the present global economy. While it proposes a high rate of growth for funding to NSF, it mandates that NSF's education grow at a rate equal to or greater than the Foundation's growth overall. As part of an increase in EHR's budget for FY 2008 from 2007's $698 million to $896 million (reaching $1.1 billion by FY 2010), the bill allocates a large increase to the MSP program. The FY 2007 budget for NSF MSP is $63 million; the new legislation authorizes $100 million for 2008, $111 million for 2009, and $123 million for 2010. The bill specifically mandates a program called "Teacher institutes for the 21st Century," involving participating teachers in a 2-year program.