By Ramya Sankar
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently published an inventory of all federal spending on STEM education by agency. This report was commissioned by the America COMPETES Act to help reduce redundancies and better invest federal dollars in STEM education. The inventory was created by surveying federal agencies in 2010 about their investments in STEM education ranging from funding undergraduate students to informal community education initiatives. The report outlined funding as a percentage of agency budget as well as each agency’s contribution to the federal STEM education spending total.
|This graph shows how the total STEM education investment is spent by each agency.|
The data is further broken down into how the money is spent, with 34 percent going toward STEM degrees—a smaller percentage of which is spent on STEM learning (8 percent) and STEM engagement (5 percent). Money spent on afterschool and summer programs such as NASA’s Summer of Innovation initiative are categorized under learning and engagement. This information will be very important as the Administration moves forward in setting a policy agenda to address STEM education. Understanding the current landscape of federal spending provides a better roadmap for how to best use limited funds to engage youth in STEM learning.
This information is important to the afterschool community as it gives us a better sense of where STEM education funding is coming from and how it is invested. This can help us better understand who is investing in the afterschool space and where we can create partnerships to tap into resources and knowledge in the community.
The appendix of the report provides detailed statistics for each agency and investments that were tallied for the inventory. The charts and graphs sprinkled throughout the report help identify some of the gaps as well as opportunities for coordination that would make federal investment in STEM education more effective.