Computer science will be given priority in federal funding at the Department of Education

The Secretary of Education just released final priorities for competitive grant funding at the Department of Education. We’ve been waiting for this as the follow up to the Administration’s commitment of $200 million for STEM education with a focus on computer science. Here’s the quick summary of the priorities:

  • CS is still a priority (despite some public comments for it to get eliminated).
  • The Department accepted our recommendations to expand the scope of underserved communities and small tweaks to add CS to a couple of sub-priorities outside of STEM and CS.
  • The Department did not accept our substantive recommendations to strengthen the priority for CS, tighten up the definition of CS, take charter schools/ed tech out of the STEM priority, and give states a role in the competitive grant funding.

In general, things are still on track pending final details. The final priorities would have been better with our proposed changes, but nothing in the final draft will block CS funding. The biggest challenge remaining is that there are so many priorities and sub-priorities — it isn’t clear what will be the top priority within grant programs.

The next step is seeing how the Department folds these priorities into the grant notices coming out in two-ish weeks. Our hope is CS makes it into several grant programs as a competitive priority. If it does, there’s still a lot of work in the community to be done to successfully compete for this funding.

Cameron Wilson, President — Advocacy Coalition® is dedicated to expanding access to computer science increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups.

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