Federal Budget and Foreign Languages: Not a Happy Couple

As many of you know, last Friday’s budget deal was cut before the figures were firm.  We are now beginning to see the actual reductions that are included in the Continuing Resolution leading to this Thursday’s  budget/appropriations vote.  There is not much good news — one exception is that despite a previous attempt to eliminate it,  the Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) was not reduced. 

On the other hand, Title VI, Foreign Languages and International Education in Higher Education, was reduced by $50 million.  The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) was cut by $140 million, and the  Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE) was reduced by $231 million.

Byrd Honors Scholarships were eliminated, as were Even Start, Striving Readers, Educational Technology State Grants, and the National Writing Project.

The National Endowment for the Humanities was only reduced by $13 million, which is somewhat surprising given the vocal nature of its critics.

Over in the State Department, Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs were pared by $35 million, the U.S. Institute of Peace took a $10 million hit, Assistance for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia lost $44 million, and the Peace Corps. $25 million.

One other somewhat positive reaction is that most of these programs were not eliminated and, consequently, may over time see their funding restored. 

While these reductions are very likely a done deal, contacting your Members of Congress to express your dissatisfaction about the harm done to these valuable, worthwhile national contributions is the first step in renewing their funding.  Thank you.

Courtesy of J. David Edwards, Ph.D. Executive Director, JNCL/NCLIS