FY 2010 FundingTitle VI: $110.3 MFulbright-Hays: $15.6 MTotal: $125.9 MFY 2016 FundingTitle VI: $65.103 MFulbright-Hays: $7.061 MTotal: $72.164 MFY 2017 Budget RequestTitle VI: $65.103 MFulbright-Hays: $2.168 MTotal: $67.271 MFY 2017 Senate Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee BillTitle VI: $65.103 MFulbright-Hays: $2.168 MTotal: $67.271 M
Title VI and Fulbright-Hays are the federal government’s most comprehensive programs for developing and maintaining a steady supply of graduates with deep expertise on foreign languages and cultures, international markets, world regions, and global issues that support our diplomatic, defense, commercial, and educational interests. Fulbright-Hays, specifically, provides opportunities for overseas research and study that ensure that students and teachers can acquire advanced language and area expertise under two currently funded programs: Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad, which provides grants to colleges and universities to fund individual doctoral students to conduct research abroad, particularly in world regions not normally included in U.S. curricula; and Group Projects Abroad, which supports seminars, curriculum development, group research, and advanced intensive language programs for American teachers, students and faculty abroad. If the Senate bill’s reduction is enacted, these programs would not fund new competitions in FY 2017. There would be no doctoral fellowships for education and research abroad.
These programs have been extremely effective. A 2008 Department of Education study concluded that participants in the Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad program were more likely to finish their degrees and did so in less time than their peers, and that 90% of graduates directly utilized their foreign language and area studies expertise in their careers. Without this modest but critical $7.2 million investment, the office of International and Foreign Language Education would be unable to support learning and research abroad as a complement to its domestic programs.
Overall, the Title VI and Fulbright Hays infrastructure has been severely depleted in recent years. Due to disproportionate funding reductions since FY 2011, the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays infrastructure has already been downsized, resulting in 25% fewer nationally recognized resource centers, 18% fewer undergraduate and doctoral fellowships, fewer training opportunities for countless numbers of students and teachers, and fewer outreach activities to government and business. Any further reductions would severely and indefinitely impair these long-standing, bipartisan programs.
Federal financial incentives are the linchpin for ensuring instruction, curricula, and research on over 200 less-commonly taught languages and all regions of U.S. strategic interest. In 2007, a National Research Council study found that HEA-Title VI and Fulbright-Hays “have served as the foundation for internationalization in higher education at modest cost, while stimulating substantial additional investment by universities themselves.” Moreover, other federal programs with more targeted priorities, such as those at the Departments of Defense, Commerce, and State, depend on the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays educational infrastructure in order to further their respective strategic goals.
While I appreciate the difficult budgetary decisions ahead as the FY 2017 appropriations process moves forward, I strongly believe a priority must be placed on programs such as Title VI and Fulbright-Hays, especially as the nation’s needs for international expertise in our global era grow by the day. I respectfully urge you to support at least $7.2 million for Fulbright-Hays and $65.1 million for Title VI in FY 2017.