Biden’s 2022 Education Budget Prioritizes STEM, Students of Color

Biden’s 2022 Education Budget Prioritizes STEM, Students of Color
portrait of Anne Dennon
By Anne Dennon

Published on June 10, 2021

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The Biden administration has submitted a $6 trillion budget for the 2022 fiscal year to Congress that includes big funding for public education, with a focus on assisting low-income students and students of color.

The proposed budget would boost funding to Title I colleges and colleges that serve high shares of Black, Hispanic, and Native American students. It would also expand funding for these schools' STEM programs, encouraging the development of programs and career pipelines in computer sciences, nursing, and allied health.

If approved, the budget would finance education objectives outlined in President Joe Biden's American Families Plan, including expanding free public education by four years, with two years of universal preschool and two years of 100% subsidized community college.

“We need to … look towards our students’ education after the pandemic to ensure there are improved resources to build our education system back better than before. This budget ensures all students have access to high-quality, affordable postsecondary education.”
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, May 28, 2021

The budget would also subsidize two years of tuition at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Additional funds would be available to these schools to bolster recruitment and retention programs and to grow research and education capacity.

Next year's budget carves out an "expansive federal government role in the economy and the lives of Americans," according to The Wall Street Journal. The budget depends on taxing corporations and the wealthy.

According to the White House, a smaller budget "would result in slower, more stratified growth that would cause more damage than one that invests appropriately."

What Biden's 2022 Budget Includes for Education

The budget blueprint includes significant increases to federal education funding. While it does not mention canceling student debt, the plan makes the first moves toward free college in the U.S., among a host of other generous proposals.

The proposal funds two years of universal preschool and splits the cost of two-year associate degrees with states. Schools that serve a high percentage of low-income students would receive funds to provide more programs. In addition to the resources allotted for this purpose in the American Rescue Plan, the funding would increase the number of counselors, school psychologists, nurses, and social workers. The new proposal earmarks $100 billion over 10 years to bring broadband to all American families in an effort to close the digital divide and the homework gap. A $16 billion investment in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act would support special K-12 education. Another $732 million would go toward early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities. The plan dedicates $100 million — a 50% increase over last year — toward increasing participation in STEM programs among individuals from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in these fields. Biden's proposal adds $5 billion to existing institutional aid grants to HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, which can be used to create or enlarge educational programs in STEM, computer sciences, nursing, and allied health fields. In addition to giving out $1.6 billion to help teachers get certified in high-demand areas like special education, bilingual education, and STEM, the plan provides $400 million for Teacher Quality Partnership grants to prepare aspiring teachers. The budget also funds efforts to diversify the teaching pool, setting $60 million aside for the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence grant program.

Major Funding for STEM, Modest Funding for the Humanities

The Biden administration's new budget provides for the sciences beyond the funding earmarked for supporting diversity in STEM. The plan requests $52 billion for the National Institutes of Health for the 2022 fiscal year (a 21% increase over last year) and $10.2 billion for the National Science Foundation (a 20% increase).

Next to these "ambitious plans for science and technology," the proposals for the humanities appear modest. The National Endowment for the Humanities would receive a 6% increase over last year's appropriation, for a total of $177.55 million.

The Trump administration proposed eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and public broadcasting. Under Biden's plan, however, no programs would be eliminated or consolidated.

Feature Image: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

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