Concluded FY2018 Budget Update (April 2, 2018)

The LSA is pleased to report that the recently concluded federal budget approval process for FY18 included a modest increase for both major funders of linguistics research: the NSF and the NEH. The latter agency had been targeted for complete elimination by the Trump Administration. In other positive news, the NIH’s efforts to reclassify most social science research involving human interventions as “clinical trials” was postponed as part of the budget process.

More budget details from earlier in this Congress (July 19, 2017)

On Wednesday morning, July 19, 2017, the House Appropriations Committee considered a bill that would eliminate funding for Fulbright-Hays, one of two crucial international education programs administered by the Department of Education.

Congress needs to hear right now that Fulbright-Hays is crucial for ensuring that students, teachers, and faculty develop the knowledge necessary to thrive in our interconnected world.

Act now to save Fulbright-Hays!

Fulbright-Hays works in concert with Title VI programs to support foreign language learning and the development of knowledge of all world regions. The draft bill provides level funding for Title VI ($65 million)—a rejection of the Trump Administration’s effort to eliminate the program. That’s good news. In order to ensure the vitality of both of the programs, our preloaded message urges Congress to maintain funding for Title VI and Fulbright-Hays.

Read our full analysis of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health, Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies draft bill here.

Take action to save Fulbright-Hays here!


More budget details from earlier this year (May 23, 2017)

This morning the Trump Administration released its Presidential Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2018 and the LSA is responding with targeted messages to its members and allies in the linguistics community.

Reports from the coalitions supported by the LSA are provided below, and more details about other aspects of the budget will be published on this page as they become available.

National Humanities Alliance Report

This document expands on a budget blueprint released by the Administration in March that called for the elimination of funding for most of our budget priorities. As anticipated, this detailed request reiterates the earlier calls for the elimination of the NEH, IMLS, NHPRC, and Title VI and Fulbright Hays.

The Administration requests a small amount of funding for the NEH and IMLS for FY 2018—$42 million for NEH and $23 for IMLS. For NEH, this amount represents the salaries and expenses required to shut down the agency and the amount required to honor pre-existing grant commitments (specifically matching funds). For IMLS, the money is designated for an “orderly close out.”

The request also calls for the Woodrow Wilson Center to transition to exclusively private funding and requests $7.5 million in FY 2018 to facilitate that transition.

For the other funding priorities, the budget requests no appropriation for FY 2018.

You can view our complete funding chart here.

Next Steps in the Budget and Appropriations Process

Now that the Administration has issued its formal request, Congress will set an overall level of discretionary spending through a Congressional Budget Resolution. The Appropriations Committee will then assign spending levels to its twelve subcommittees, and then the subcommittees will draft individual bills. We anticipate that this work will extend through the summer.

It is important to remember that the Administration’s budget request is only advisory, and Congress will ultimately make decisions about funding. In recent years, the NEH has received strong bipartisan and bicameral support from the appropriations committees, including the increased funding for FY 2017 announced just three weeks ago. While the overall fiscal constraints that the subcommittees will face are still unclear and the budget is likely to be tighter than last year, we are encouraged by this bipartisan support.

Advocacy in the Coming Months

As Congress begins it work on FY 2018, it is important for Members of Congress to hear from their constituents. Please remind your members and colleagues about the multiple ways that they can advocate for funding for the NEH and other programs through our Take Action page. 

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to execute our strategy of recruiting new advocates in the districts and states of the Members of Congress we expect to play a decisive role in blocking attempts to eliminate humanities funding. This outreach has already garnered an enthusiastic response from leaders of higher education institutions, museum directors, and NEH grantees. Please contact Robert Bowen at, to find out how you can do targeted outreach to your members who live in these key districts and states.

This is likely to be a long battle. We will keep you informed as the situation develops and let you know about key moments when your members and colleagues can make a difference.

Analysis of the Budget Request from the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA)

COSSA produced an analysis of the President's FY 2018 budget request on May 26. The analysis is available here.

Preliminary Details from the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA)

The Trump Administration released details of its FY 2018 budget request earlier today. COSSA is preparing a full analysis, which should be available by the end of the week. Below are some preliminary details.

As expected, the budget identifies cuts from nearly every corner of the government that is not defense. The good news is that social science is not cut disproportionately compared to other sciences. The Administration is taking aim at non-defense discretionary accounts at the highest levels and not getting into the weeds to call out individual areas of sciences. This is a good thing for our community as we head into the appropriations process over the next several months. While the President’s budget is largely dead on arrival in the Congress, it helps that the President does not set a precedent for picking winners and losers among the sciences.

Preliminary details are below. It is important to note that for several agencies, comparisons are made to the FY 2017 continuing resolution enacted in April – NOT the final FY 2017 omnibus levels. For other agencies (like NSF), comparisons are made to the FY 2016 enacted levels. Each agency’s budget is handled differently in the request. Our final analysis will compare the request to the FY 2017 omnibus, which should tell the most accurate story.

  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) would receive a total budget of $6.7 billion, a cut of about 11 percent compared to the FY 2016 (not FY 2017) enacted level. There are no real winners or losers in the NSF budget. The total cut to the Research and Related Activities account would be 10.6 percent. Within that, the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate would be cut by 10.4 percent. All NSF Directorates would receive sizable cuts under the President’s proposal, ranging from 7.1 percent for BIO to 10.6 percent for GEO. While SBE’s cut is on the larger side, it is less than the total R&RA cut. We do not believe SBE was singled out among the directorates. This is positive. 
  • For the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the President’s FY 2018 budget would provide $26.9 billion, a reduction of $7.2 billion or 21 percent below the FY 2017 funding level provided by the omnibus. As COSSA reported earlier, the FY 2018 budget would eliminate the Fogarty International Center (FIC) but retain $25 million of its funding for “mission–critical international research and research-related activities within the NIH Office of the Director.” According to the budget request, international research would be prioritized, as appropriate, by other NIH Institutes as part of their research portfolios. As you have undoubtedly read in the press, NIH Congressional champions and chairmen of the their respective Appropriations Subcommittees with jurisdiction over NIH, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), have repeatedly expressed their dismay with the President’ FY 2018 budget request and the fact that it is in direct opposition to their goal of continuing their recent trend of providing robust, sustainable funding for NIH.
  • The Census Bureau, which received a fairly modest increase in the FY 2017 omnibus, would receive an even smaller increase of $54 million (3.7 percent), for a total of $1.524 billion (about half the amount of the FY 2016 to FY 2017 increase). This is an unprecedentedly low rate of growth compared to previous decennial census lead-up years and would likely hurt the Bureau’s ability to conduct a cost-effective, accurate 2020 count (not to mention its ability to effectively administer its other programs and surveys).
  • The President’s budget request for the Institute of Education Sciences is $616.8 million, a 1.9 percent increase above the FY 2017 funding level of $605.3 million.
  • The Administration’s request would eliminate the International Education and Foreign Language Studies Domestic and Overseas Programs (Title VI and Fulbright Hays). The budget request states that “other federal agencies whose primary mission is national security implement similar programs and are better equipped to support the objective of these programs.” The Administration questions whether the goals of the program are consistent with the Department of Education’s core mission. The program’s authorization expired in 2014.
  • The Administration’s budget would also reduce reimbursement of indirect costs, also known as grantee administrative and facilities costs, “so that available funding can be better targeted toward supporting the highest priority research on diseases that affect human health.” The budget would cap the indirect cost rate for NIH grants at 10 percent of total research and would “be applied to all types of grants with a rate higher than 10 percent currently.” According to the Administration this would bring the indirect cost rate paid by the federal government in line with the rate paid by private foundations for biomedical research conducted at universities. The budget also proposes “that NIH streamline select Federal research requirements for grantees through targeted approaches.”

Let us know if you have any questions. Otherwise, stay tuned for our full analysis by Friday (our previous analysis of the skinny budget is available on the COSSA website).

Report from the Joint National Committee on Language

Yesterday, the President released his proposed budget for FY18. The Trump administration proposes, among other things,

  • to eliminate international and foreign language education, funded under Title VI/Fulbright-Hays;
  • to eliminate the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program, funded this year at $400m;
  • to reduce funding for the new Native American language immersion grants in the US Department of Education, by 20%;
  • to reduce funding for the exchange programs in the Department of State by 2/3;
  • to reduce funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities by 2/3. 

The Administration for Native Americans (part of the Administration for Children and Families in the Dept. of Health and Human Services), which includes support for language revitalization programs, would receive $50 million under the President’s budget request (language below, and page 80 in this document). This is flat funding from the FY 17 continuing resolution, and $2.1 million less than FY 2017 enacted appropriations level.  

From the HHS Budget-in-Brief:  

“The Administration for Native Americans in ACF serves Native Americans, including Federally recognized tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. ACF promotes self-sufficiency for Native Americans by competitively funding community-based projects that foster the development of stable, diversified local economies to provide jobs, promote community and economic wellbeing, encourage community partnerships, and reduce dependency. Funds also support the preservation of native languages and the environmental protection of Tribally-controlled lands. The FY 2018 Budget includes $50 million to support these activities, the same as the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution.”

Senior leaders in Congress have indicated that much of the President's budget proposal will not be enacted, and that the Congress will exercise its Constitutional authority to appropriate monies for the operation of the Federal government. Working with our member and partner organizations, we've collectively built a remarkable base of support in the Congress for languages. Nevertheless, we must continue to make our voices heard.

A message from the American Council of Learned Societies

Dear friends and colleagues,
The Constitution states that a purpose of government is to “promote the general welfare.” Our capacity to understand our country and our world is critical to that goal. This week, the Trump Administration issued a budget request for the coming fiscal year that undermines that capacity.
The president’s budget calls for the eradication of the National Endowment for the Humanities and many other cultural agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Historic Publications and Records Commission, and the International and Foreign Language Studies programs of the Department of Education (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays). If this radical proposal is enacted, the infrastructure of the humanities in the United States will be severely degraded. The president’s FY 2018 budget is an assault on our nation’s core values, for the humanities are essential to an innovative and robust civil society, where citizens are free to question, investigate, and imagine better futures.
Of course, we know that while the president may propose, it is Congress that appropriates the funding. I urge you to contact your Members of Congress to tell them that you support the humanities and strongly oppose any proposal that would eliminate the NEH and other essential programs. Any federal budget affects many issues, and you may wish to address those separately, but if our community does not arise in defense of humanities research, much will be lost. The strong response of NEH supporters earlier this year helped the Endowment win a slight increase in its FY17 appropriation. As the struggle over the FY18 budge is likely to be protracted, early action will let Congress know of vigilant opposition to the Administration’s proposals. 
As I have noted before, our colleagues at the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) offer simple and straightforward means to e-mail or call your representatives. Please visit the NHA’s site today. If you wish to call directly, you can reach the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and be connected to any Senator or Representative. Calls are particularly effective at demonstrating grass-roots concern.

Pauline Yu

American Council of Learned Societies
633 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Tel: (212) 697-1505 x121