ACE, in conjunction with a coalition of higher education associations, is stepping up efforts to prevent Congress from making further cuts to the Department of Education's (ED) international and foreign language programs.
Funding for Title VI International Education programs was cut $50 million (or 40 percent) in the FY 2011 spending bill. Now, as Congress works on FY 2012 spending bills for the fiscal year that started on Oct. 1, 2011, it is possible that further reductions are in the offing.
While the Senate proposes to fund these programs evenly, albeit at the reduced funding level approved last year, the House draft makes an additional $9 million cut, completely eliminating the Fulbright-Hays programs as well as the Institute for International Public Policy. The associations are working to persuade Congress to maintain these programs at the FY 2011 level of $75.7 million provided in the Senate bill.
One part of this effort is a letter sent last week to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership by a coalition of education groups, including ACE. The letter asks that funding be maintained for ED's international and foreign language programs.
“The nation continues to face a dangerously short supply of Americans with in-depth knowledge of world regions and international markets, and fluency in foreign languages and their cultures,” the groups wrote. “These skills help to ensure our security and global economic competitiveness, including job creation and sustainable recovery from the economic crisis. The FY 2011 funding reductions already have weakened the educational opportunities needed to address these shortfalls, as well as to prepare our students for the 21st century global workplace.”