The Federal government spends about $3 billion each year to encourage and support students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
This activity is authorized under the America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) Act, which became law in August 2007, and was reauthorized in January 2011. The law is scheduled for re-authorization in late 2013.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently released its 5-year STEM plan, as required by the law. The plan would consolidate 226 STEM programs into 114 in fiscal year 2014. The plan would focus specific elements in particular agencies: K-12 STEM education would be implemented by the Department of Education; the National Science foundation would be responsible for undergraduate programs including STEM retention efforts and graduate fellowships; and the Smithsonian Institution would become a new participant in the federal effort, working on informal STEM education. Additional activities aimed at encouraging students in the disciplines necessary for specific agency missions would continue at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Department of Energy (DOE).
As of June 15, legislation for a 2013 re-authorization of America COMPETES has not been introduced. However, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee has announced that this legislation will be a top priority. The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is expected to take the lead in developing the re-authorization in the Senate.
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