Higher education provisions of federal stimulus legislation

With President Obama’s signature, the federal economic stimulus package is now fully enacted. Institutions of higher education nationwide, including UW-Madison, are being asked to contribute our expertise and strong record of success in education and innovation to help stimulate the economy-through an infusion of roughly $18 billion in competitive scientific research funding; almost $16 billion in student aid funding, primarily through increases in the Pell Grant; and billions more in State Stabilization funding given to States to potentially upgrade, modernize and repair (but not newly construct or maintain) K-12 and university facilities.

Wisconsin’s Congressman Dave Obey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was one of a very small handful of key leaders throughout the development and passage of this legislation. His understanding and appreciation of the skills and talents of our students and researchers, and our institutions’ abilities as engines of economic growth, have given colleges and universities the opportunity to serve the nation in this recovery effort. You may wish to communicate directly with Chairman Obey and the other members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, to provide thanks and updates on the positive outcomes from this unprecedented influx of funding. I would be happy to help with such letters in any way I can.

The attached table gives some more detail on the provisions in the law. The higher education community and the programs most important to us are now due for major investments-likely the largest set of investments in higher education since World War II. Details on the mechanics of how the research and education funds will be specifically awarded and tracked will be forthcoming from federal agencies.

Decisions about how Wisconsin will spend its portion of the State Stabilization Fund will be made by the governor and other state government leaders.

Throughout the coming months, there will be much happening very quickly, as federal agencies, state governments, and universities rise to the challenge of spending the stimulus funds quickly. If you have questions about the stimulus bill, or other federal issues affecting the University, please let me know.

Rhonda Norsetter
Senior Special Assistant to the Chancellor