As part of its legislative monitoring and advocacy program, the Office of Government and Community Relations tracks legislation, regulations and federal initiatives that affect the University. Our staff maintains a close relationship with local congressional offices, executive offices, agencies and national associations. If there is an issue that you believe affects the University, please contact our office at 315-443-3919.Table of Contents
As a result of the "fiscal cliff" agreement earlier this year, Congress had until March 1, 2013, to avert sequestration. However, that deadline passed and the sequester went into effect. While the original Budget Control Act called for 9.4% of defense discretionary funds to be cut and 8.2% for nondefense discretionary funding, these percentages dropped to 7.3% and 5.1% under the terms outlined by the Act.
Level of cuts
Because these cuts are made in the middle of the fiscal year, the estimated impact is in fact much higher than the 5.1% required by sequestration. The White House Office of Management estimated that the actual cuts amount to 13% for defense discretionary funding and 9% for nondefense discretionary funding. Many agencies are grappling with how to best allocate their remaining funds for the least significant impact. The Office of Government and Community Relations has been working with our federal representatives to communicate our concern and to urge appropriate action.
Sequestration and Higher Education
Because federal funding is SU's largest source of sponsored funds, sequestration will affect the University, and other institutions of higher education, on two fronts: cuts in research as well as cuts to certain federal financial aid programs.
In the area of federally sponsored research, it is up to each agency how it would implement the cuts. Some agencies are having no new starts, some may reduce any unspent funds in existing contracts. The National Science Foundation (NSF) will reduce new grants by about 1,000. Similarly, the National Institute of Health (NIH) most likely will not be able to fund as many new research projects this year.
The sequester will also have an impact on financial aid as packages are being put together for incoming classes. Work-study, supplemental education opportunity grants (SEOG), TRIO grants and GEAR UP will be cut. An estimated 30,000 work-study jobs could be lost nationwide. Additionally, although Pell grants won't be immediately affected by sequestration, it is in line for cuts in the out years through the appropriations process.
Sequestration also impacts the decision of potential students as they often choose a school based on the financial aid package they receive. If they receive a smaller package, they may be less apt to attend a particular school or may decide not to attend college.
Sequestration in the Context of the Continuing Resolution (CR)
The "continuing resolution" (CR) - stopgap funding to keep the government operating - runs out on March 27, 2013. A CR for the final months of FY13 is being developed. Going forward, budget talks for FY14 are expected to be contentious as both parties seek to advance their funding priorities and views on spending cuts and tax code changes.
NAICU serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education. Since 1976, the association has represented private colleges and universities on policy issues with the federal government, such as those affecting student aid, taxation, and government regulation. With nearly 1,000 members nationwide, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States.
ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions. ACE seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and to influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives. Founded in 1918, its members include approximately 1,800 accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities and higher education-related associations, organizations, and corporations.