No Details Yet on $200M in Federal Funding for STEM and CS

While celebrating district, state, and international commitments to computer science education this week, we had hoped to share details about how the US Department of Education plans to distribute the promised funding for Science Technology Education and Mathematics (STEM) + Computer Science (CS). Unfortunately, we still do not have any clarity on the details of how the Department of Education is planning to meet the $200 million goal the President set in September.

The good news is the CS community showed up in a big way to advocate for the field. The Secretary of Education proposed 11 priorities for how the US Dept of Ed will spend its money and asked for the public to comment. 1,057 (75 percent) of the 1,448 comments submitted were about making CS a priority. That’s incredible! And it’s thanks to the entire CS community for generating such an amazing response.

So, why don’t we know how know the funding will work? First, Congress hasn’t yet approved a budget for this fiscal year. (The Federal Government’s 2018 fiscal year started in October.) Departments often can’t issue details on funding without a budget. Second, the Department isn’t expected to issue the Secretary’s final priorities until March. Individual grant programs can’t issue notices for applications of funding without these. Right now, it looks like the community may not see details on this effort until the Spring.

While we don’t have a crisp answer to the question we keep hearing — “where is the $200 million for computer science and how do we get it?” — we will we keep asking and keep pushing for clarity.

Cameron Wilson, President of 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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