President Obama Releases Preliminary Details on Next Year's Budget


On February 26, 2009 President Obama released an overview of his Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 budget request. The annual budget request is submitted to Congress as a starting point for the appropriations process which will take place in the House and Senate over the next several months. Overall, the top line funding details for education and research are promising and build upon the increases provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or stimulus legislation.

Typically, the President would release his budget request for the upcoming fiscal year in early February. However, given that this is a transition year for President Obama, who wasn’t inaugurated until January 20, he instead released just top-line funding levels for the federal agencies. He is expected to release his full budget request in April, which will include funding recommendations for all programs and activities funded with federal money for the period of October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010. It is important to note that the President’s annual budget request is not final; it is simply a request to Congress who will then determine the final appropriations for the federal government. Below are some of the preliminary details that were included in President Obama’s budget request. Full details of the President’s budget outline can be accessed on the White House website:

Department of Education - $46.7 billion (FY 2009: $46.2 billion)

  • Would provide funds for education research and evaluation of federal education programs
  • Would expand Pell Grants to $5,500 (an increase of $200 over the increase in FY2009 and the
  • stimulus) and the Administration would propose to make the Pell Grant program mandatory
  • Would aim to stabilize the student loan program by asking Congress to end the entitlements for financial institutions to make student loans in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and originate all student loans in the Direct Loan program
  • Would establish and restructure a new Perkins Loan program and may include changes to the
  • traditional campus based aid allocations
  • Would create and expand programs including - $2.5 billion for a new five year Access and Completion Incentive Fund to support innovative State efforts in college completion efforts and funding for the "Promises Neighborhood" program which would improve college-going rates by combing a rigorous K-12 education with a full network of support services from birth to college

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - $76.8 billion (FY 2009: $78.4 billion)

  • Would establish a “reserve fund” of more than $630 billion over 10 years to finance health care reform
  • Would provide $6 billion for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in effort to support the President's multi-year initiative to double cancer research funding (FY 2009: $4.97 billion)
  • Would continue efforts to further the adoption and implementation of health IT
  • Would expand the Medicare and Medicaid research agenda
  • Would support and expand health care workforce and education
  • Would expand access to health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives
  • Would support research for the causes and treatments of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Would continue to support comparative effectiveness research

Department of Veterans Affairs - $55.9 billion (FY 2009: $50.4)

  • Would make a commitment to increase VA funding by $25 billion over the next 5 years
  • Would enable VA to create Centers of Excellence and provide additional veteran-oriented specialty care
  • Would expand mental health screening and treatment services and focus on reaching veterans in rural communities by increasing the number of Vet Centers and mobile health clinics
  • Would provide resources for the implementation of the post-9/11 GI Bill

Department of Defense - $533.7 billion (FY 2009: $513.3 billion)

  • Would support expansion of the service corps
  • Would emphasize mental health needs and additional support needed
  • Would require an additional $75 billion FY 2009 supplemental for Congress to pass this calendar year

U.S. Department of Agriculture Discretionary Funding - $26 billion (FY2009: $24.6 billion)

  • Would provide $61 million to Rural Development programs including rural cooperative
  • development grants and cooperative research agreements
  • Affirms the President’s commitment to expand research funding for the development of renewable energy
  • Would provide an additional $70 million for new research programs and expand current research initiatives at rural land grant and minority serving institutions

National Science Foundation - $7 billion (FY 2009: $6.5 billion)

  • Would provide a doubling of basic research over ten years
  • Would expand support for Advanced Technological Education and the education of technicians
  • Would expand support for Faculty Early Career Development programs and graduate research
  • fellowships
  • Would establish a climate change education program Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) - $1.13 billion (FY2009: $869 million
  • Would create a new social innovation fund, “charged with testing promising new approaches to major challenges, leveraging private and foundation capital to meet these needs, and scaling up research proven programs”
  • Would provide additional resources for Learn and Serve America, which supports service learning