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  • Writer's pictureSara Schapiro

President’s FY25 Budget: Implications for Education R&D

On March 11, 2024, the President released his budget for Fiscal Year 2025, and it spells good news for advocates and educators who are concerned about research and development opportunities and infrastructure in the education sector. New funding caps imposed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act have tempered many advocates’ expectations. However, by requesting increases for key federal education R&D programs across multiple agencies, the Biden-Harris administration has signaled that it continues to value investments in education innovation, even in a budget-conscious political climate.

An analysis of the proposal by the Alliance for Learning Innovation (ALI) found a lot to like. The President’s Budget would send $815.5 million to the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) to invest in education research, development, dissemination, and evaluation. This is $22.5 million higher than IES received in Fiscal Year 2024. This includes $38.5 million for Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, a 35 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2024. 

Notably, the President is asking for $52.7 million to grow the Accelerate, Transform, and Scale (ATS) Initiative at IES. This is 76 percent higher than the $30 million IES originally put into the initiative in 2023 when Congress directed the agency to “use a portion of its fiscal year 2023 appropriation to support a new funding opportunity for quick turnaround, high-reward scalable solutions intended to significantly improve outcomes for students.” 

The ATS Initiative, widely regarded as a pilot for a possible National Center for Advanced Development in Education, is inspired by Advanced Research Project Agencies  across the federal government – and around the world – that build insights from basic research to develop and scale breakthrough innovations. Like ARPAs, ATS invests in big ideas that emerge from interdisciplinary, outside-the-box collaboration. It aims to solve the nation’s steepest challenges in education.

The President’s request for ATS includes $2 million for a new research and development center on how generative artificial intelligence is being used in classrooms across the U.S. According to the Congressional Justification for IES, this new center will “develop and test innovative uses of this technology and will establish best practices for evidence building about generative AI in education that not only address the effectiveness of the technology for learning, but also consider issues of bias, fairness, transparency, trust and safety.”

Outside of IES, the President’s Budget calls for additional investments in education innovation. For example, it requests $269 million for the Education Innovation and Research program, housed at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. If fulfilled, this would be a $10 million increase over last year. The President also wants Congress to send $100 million to the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education to expand R&D infrastructure at four-year Historically Black Colleges or Universities, Tribally Controlled Colleges or Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions.

The Biden-Harris administration’s support for education R&D is also reflected in its requests for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The President’s Budget requests $1.3 billion for the NSF’s Directorate for STEM Education – $128 million above its Fiscal Year 2024 level. Moreover, it includes $900 million to fund the important work of NSF's newest directorate, authorized in the CHIPS and Science Act: the Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate. TIP runs important R&D initiatives, such as the VITAL Prize Challenge and America’s Seed Fund, that support teaching and learning innovations. 

ALI looks forward to advocating for a robust investment in education R&D in Fiscal Year 2025. The President’s Budget provides a solid marker for the coalition’s efforts.


FY24 Enacted

FY25 President’s Budget Request


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