Urgent Action Needed: Oppose Senate Cuts to Title VI/Fulbright-Hays!


Dear Colleagues, 
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported a bipartisan Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill by a vote of 29-1. This FY 2017 bill funds Title VI at the FY 2016 level but reduces Fulbright-Hays by $4.893 million or 69% below FY 2016 as proposed by the Administration’s budget. This proposed reduction, if enacted, would result in a total of $58.629 million or 47% loss since the FY 2010 high point for Title VI/Fulbright-Hays. These past cuts and the proposed FY 2017 cut are broken down below:
FY 2010 Funding
Title VI:  $110.3 M
Fulbright-Hays:  $15.6 M
Total:  $125.9 M
FY 2016 Funding
Title VI:  $65.103 M
Fulbright-Hays:  $7.061 M
Total:  $72.164 M
FY 2017 Budget Request
Title VI:  $65.103 M
Fulbright-Hays:  $2.168 M
Total:  $67.271 M
FY 2017 Senate Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee Bill
Title VI:  $65.103 M
Fulbright-Hays:  $2.168 M
Total:  $67.271 M
The Fulbright-Hays Act funds four overseas programs that provide a variety of grants to individuals and institutions of higher education for projects in foreign language and area studies: Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA)Faculty Research Abroad (FRA)Group Projects Abroad (GPA)Seminars Abroad Program (SAP). If the Senate enacted this cut to Fulbright-Hays, only GPA non-competing continuation grants would be funded next year. There would be no new competitions for DDRAs, GPAs, or SAPs, devastating the Fulbright-Hays program. 


We still have an opportunity to influence the House Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee. Take action now to prevent further cuts to Title VI/Fulbright-Hays. Contact your House Member here to use the template composed by The Coalition for International Education and the National Humanities Alliance (full text below), urging them to contact the House Appropriations Committee Members who will act on this bill very soon.




As a constituent, I am writing to urgently request your help with an issue of great importance to the nation’s security and economic competitiveness now and for future generations: international education and foreign language studies programs (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays) in the U.S. Department of Education. I write with great concern because the Senate Appropriations Committee has reported a Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill that would provide level (FY 2016) funding for Title VI, but would cut Fulbright-Hays overseas programs by 69%. Level funding in the Senate bill is a plus, but both of these programs already have sustained deep, disproportionate cuts since FY 2011. The Senate’s proposed cut to Fulbright-Hays would be devastating, nearly shutting down the program. I understand that the House Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations will mark up their bill this month, so time is of the essence. I urge you to reach out to House Appropriations Committee Members to provide at least level funding of $72.2 million in total for Title VI and Fulbright-Hays in FY 2017. Of this amount, we urge at least the current level of $7.2 million for Fulbright-Hays.

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.

Thank you for your consideration.



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