Legislative Priorities 2016

Department of Education

  • Title VI of Higher Education Act – International and Foreign Language Education Office: NCLIS notes that the President’s FY2017 budget decreases funding to the International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) programs of the US Department of Education by almost $5m, from the current $72m to $67m. Moreover, this cut, directed at the overseas programs of IFLE, will significantly damage the Fulbright-Hays programs. We note that, if enacted, this funding level will still remain more than $50m below the fiscal year 2011 levels. NCLIS requests robust funding for these programs, at or above the FY16 levels.
  • Title IV, Part A of Every Student Succeeds Act – Student Support and Academic Enhancement Grants: NCLIS notes that the President’s FY17 budget requests $500m for Part A of Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This amount is less than one third of the authorization level of $1.65b. This allocation will severely limit the ability of states and districts to make meaningful investments in subjects that are essential to a well-rounded education, which includes foreign language education. NCLIS requests full funding as agreed upon by Congress and authorized in ESSA.
  • Title III of Every Student Succeeds Act – Office of English Language Acquisition: NCLIS welcomes the President’s request of $800m for Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in English language acquisition among English Language Learners (ELLs), and notes that this program has driven the formation of innovative and impactful dual-language immersion programs that result in greater academic success for ELLs.
  • Institute for Education Sciences: NCLIS welcomes the proposed funding of $693.8m for the Institute of Education Sciences; this request is $75.8m more than the enacted 2016 level. IES supports high-quality evaluations of program models for their impact on educational outcomes, including several research studies on the differential impact of Dual Language Immersion.

Department of State

NCLIS is pleased by the President’s FY17 budget request of $639.8m for the overall budget for educational and cultural exchanges, an increase of $48.9 over the $590.9m in FY16. NCLIS asks Congress to support the President’s request and to ensure that international exchanges for US citizens are robustly funded. International exchanges, including programs for US students to study abroad, are a bedrock component of our education in foreign languages, and are invaluable as a tool of informal diplomacy. Additionally, we request restoration of FY12-level funding for the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union Act (PL 90-164, Title VIII), at $5.7m, in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, $2.7m above the FY16 level of $3m. NCLIS notes that the Department omits funding for the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX). NCLIS requests that the CBYX receive full funding of $4m for FY17, the same level as in FY16. Finally, NCLIS notes that both the Title VIII and CBYX programs were specifically included by the Congress in FY16, a clear signal to the Department to continue supporting these programs.

US Department of Defense

  • Defense Language and National Security Education Office: NCLIS requests robust funding at or above the FY16 level, as well the as the statutory funding level for the National Security Education Program of $16m from the Intelligence budget. DLSNEO funds several programs vital to language and culture in national security, including the more than 60 programs supported by the Language Flagship, the Boren Fellowship and Scholarship Programs, the African Language Initiative, the Flagship K-12 initiative, among others. NCLIS requests that Congress fund DLNSEO at the level requested in the President’s budget.
  • Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center: The President’s FY17 Budget requests a slight decrease in the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center budget of $3m. DLIFLC is the world’s largest language school, educating some 5,000 American service members in 18 languages. NCLIS requests that Congress fund DLIFLC at FY16 levels, at $301m.
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency: NCLIS notes the President’s request for $2.973b for DARPA, an increase of $1m over FY16 totals. DARPA funds a number of advanced programs in language technology; prior R&D funded by DARPA underlies much of the translation and localization technology used by today’s language industry. NCLIS requests robust funding for DARPA, at or above the President’s request.

National Endowment for the Humanities NCLIS notes the President’s FY17 request for funding at $149.8m. NCLIS joins the National Humanities Alliance in requesting $155m for NEH. This level of funding would allow the agency to better exercise its critical role as a catalyst for educational, research, preservation, and programming initiatives in the humanities by meeting extensive demand for support, which routinely outstrips available funds.

National Science Foundation NCLIS supports the President’s FY17 request for NSF funding at $7.964b, and notes that the President’s budget requests $288.8m for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences, including linguistics, a 6.1% increase over FY16. NCLIS applauds the Administration’s decision to invest in linguistics and related sciences.

Intelligence Community NCLIS urges robust funding for the language programs in the intelligence community, to include STARTALK.

Language in Federal Appropriations


The chart below details the appropriations for FY15 and FY16, as well as the President’s FY17 budget request and the Senate and House funding levels for the various programs.

approps FY16 request chart

**For cells denoted with asterisks, the funding level is not yet publicly available.

The chart below details past-years’ appropriations and requests to the relevant language programs in the Department of State, Department of Defense and Department of Education, as well as this year’s totals.

appropriations chart FY15