President Obama’s 2017 Budget Provides Increases for the Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, and National Science Foundation

On February 9, President Obama submitted his Budget for Fiscal Year 2017 to Congress, providing investments to continue building on the Administration’s work in key programs within the Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, and National Science Foundation.

For the Department of Education, the President requests $69.4 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $1.3 billion (or 2%) over the Fiscal Year 2016 level, and approximately $139.7 billion in new mandatory funding. The budget supports the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which embraces many of the reforms the Administration has long supported to improve outcomes for all students. Key areas of investment include increasing equity and excellence, using evidence and data for advancing equity, and providing support for teachers and school leaders.

For the Department of Health and Human Services, the President requests $82.8 billion in discretionary funding as well as new mandatory investments to expand mental health services, research, and development. Key areas of investment include keeping people safe and healthy, particularly those at key stages of life.

For the National Science Foundation, the President requests $7.96 billion, of which $7.56 billion is discretionary funding and $400 million is new mandatory funding. The budget provides a total of $1.2 billion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education activities. Key areas of investment include developing a highly talented workforce through all phases of education, from Pre-K through doctorate and beyond.

Key Department of Education investments in the President’s budget include the following:

Increasing Equity and Excellence

  • $15.4 billion for Title I grants to school districts — the cornerstone of federal efforts to ensure all students, including poor and minority students, English learners, and students with disabilities, graduate from high school prepared for college and careers.
  • A commitment to early learning as a path to opportunity anchored by the President’s Preschool for All proposal, which would provide mandatory funding for universal, high-quality preschool programs for all four-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families, as well as a total increase of $80 million for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) preschool grants and grants for infants and families and an increase of $100 million for the Preschool Development Grants program in the Department of Health and Human Services’ budget.
  • $4 billion in mandatory funding for a new Computer Science for All initiative, which would support state efforts to expand access for all students to computer science instruction and programs of study, as well as $100 million in discretionary funding for grants to districts to promote innovative strategies to provide high-quality instruction and other learning opportunities in computer science.
  • $120 million for new Stronger Together Grants, which would encourage the development of ambitious, innovative plans to increase socioeconomic diversity through voluntary, community-supported strategies and expand on existing efforts in states and communities.
  • $138 million for more vigorous enforcement of the nation’s civil rights laws by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights, ensuring equal access to education.

Using Evidence and Data for Advancing Equity

  • $180 million for the Education Innovation and Research program, an increase of $60 million — or 50% — for the successor to the Investing in Innovation (i3) program to expand support for evidence-based initiatives that develop, validate, or scale up effective education interventions.
  • $100 million for the First in the World program to develop, validate, or scale up innovative strategies to improve postsecondary completion rates for high-need students, as well as test these strategies when implemented in varied settings and contexts.
  • A total of $15 million for InformED, which would build on the success of the College Scorecard by making the Department’s data and research across the education spectrum more available and actionable for internal users and the public.

Providing Support for Teachers and School Leaders

  • A new RESPECT: Best Job in the World program — a $1 billion mandatory investment to support a nationwide effort to attract and retain effective teachers in high-need schools by increasing compensation and paths for advancement, implementing teacher-led development opportunities to improve instruction, and creating working conditions and climates conducive to student success.
  • $125 million for a proposed Teacher and Principals Pathways program for grants to institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations, working closely with districts, to create or expand high-quality pathways into teaching, particularly into high-need schools and high-need subjects such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
  • $10 million for Teach to Lead grants to support the promising work at the Teach to Lead Summits with direct support to teachers who develop innovative reforms with the potential for wider impact on improving student outcomes.

Key Department of Health and Human Services investments in the President’s budget include the following:

Keeping People Safe and Healthy

The President’s budget makes robust investments in the safety and health of all Americans, particularly those at key stages of life as follows:

  • Increasing access to early intervention mental and behavioral health programs and expanding mental health treatment. The budget proposes a two-year initiative to expand access to mental health services financed with $500 million in new mandatory funding. (See Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA press release.)
  • Maintaining historic investments in Head Start and increasing the number of children attending programs of longer duration. The FY 2017 budget includes $9.6 billion for Head Start, an increase of $434 million over FY 2016. This level includes the resources necessary to maintain enrollment in the program, including the Administration’s historic expansion of Early Head Start and recent investments in Early Head Start-Care Partnerships. In addition, the budget continues to support high-quality services in Head Start with an additional $292 million above FY 2016 to increase the number of children attending Head Start for a full school day and a full school year, which is necessary to ensure that children receive services that are of the highest quality and help meet the needs of working parents.
  • Making landmark investments in child care by increasing the number of children served, investing in the quality of the child care workforce, and implementing new health and safety requirements. (See the Administration for Children & Families press release.) The budget continues the historic proposal that provides $82 billion over 10 years in additional mandatory funds for child care. This investment will increase the number of children served to a total of 2.6 million children and guarantee that low-and moderate-income working families can access high-quality child care, so that all young children are safe and ready to learn. This landmark proposal also makes significant investments in raising the quality of child care, including investments to improve the skills, competencies, and training of the child care workforce, and a higher subsidy rate for higher quality care. This additional funding also includes $40 million for pilots that will test and evaluate strategies for addressing the child care needs of working families, especially families working non-traditional hours or in rural areas.
  • Laying the groundwork for Universal Preschool. The budget provides $350 million for the Preschool Development Grants program — an initiative jointly administered by the Departments of Health and Human Services and Education.
  • Understanding the brain. The budget provides $195 million within NIH, $45 million more than FY2016, for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. NIH is pushing the boundaries of neuroscience through the BRAIN Initiative to reveal how patterns of neural activity actually translate into emotion, thought, and memory. This research has the potential to discover underlying pathologies in a vast array of brain disorders and provide new avenues to treat, cure, and even prevent common conditions. In FY 2017, the increased funds will continue to support basic neuroscience research, human neuroscience, neuroimaging, and training initiatives, as well as potential projects to collaborate with industry to test novel devices in the human brain, new ways to address big data from the brain, and develop devices for mapping and tuning brain circuitry.

Key National Science Foundation investments in the President’s budget include the following:

Developing a Highly Talented Workforce through All Phases of Education
NSF funds activities that support students, teachers, researchers, and the public, as well as education research that is critical to building the nation’s knowledge base for improving learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The budget provides a total of $1.2 billion for STEM education activities including the following:

  • Computer Science for All, which will accelerate NSF’s ongoing efforts to enable rigorous and engaging computer science education in schools across the nation.
  • Improving Undergraduate STEM Education to accelerate the quality and effectiveness of undergraduate education in all STEM fields by using research on STEM learning to address crosscutting challenges and discipline-specific issues.
  • NSF Research Traineeships that identify priority research themes that both align with NSF initiatives and have strong potential for the development and testing of innovative practices in graduate education.
  • Graduate Research Fellowships that recognize students with high potential in STEM research and innovation and provide support for them to pursue multidisciplinary research.
  • Advancing Informal STEM Learning that provides design, implementation, and testing of new approaches to STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; the creation of multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; and research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments.

For more information among the helpful resources online are a press release and the budget summary.

To view a list of fact sheets for each government agency see: The President’s Budget: Agency Fact Sheets.