The language funding that we advocate for is spread throughout several departments of the government. This year’s appropriations cycle brought some successes, and thankfully, very few cuts.
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.
Foreign exchange programs in the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Department of State received a slight increase in funding compared to FY14. We had hoped that these programs would receive the levels recommended by the Senate Appropriations Committee over the summer, at some 15% higher than the 2014 levels, but the overall increase, of 4.3%, is far better than the levels recommended by the House of Representatives. Moreover, Title VIII of the Research and Training for Eastern Europe and the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union Act benefited from a specific funding line of $3m, and a change in the legislative language that we hope will ensure that the appropriated funds are properly transferred to their intended program, which did not happen in either of FY13 or FY14.
In the Department of Education, FLAP remains zeroed out and the funding for state-level block grants that would take its place received no funding. On the Higher Education side, Title VI and the International and Foreign Language Education Office received level funding, despite the Senate recommendation for a nearly $10m increase. Both results are a significant disappointment.
Defense funding for foreign language did see some increases. DARPA received an additional $136m over the FY14 level. DARPA funds significant research in language technology; we hope to report on the funding levels for these programs in the near future. An additional $10m was added for Foreign Language training to the Department of Defense budget for operations and maintenance. The Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO) faces a cut of nearly $7m in 2015; however, initial indications are that the programs of the National Security Education Program – the Boren and Flagship programs in particular – should be insulated from these cuts. We will continue to monitor this and report as we learn more.
Appropriations for the National Endowment for the Humanities remained at FY14 levels; this is a considerable victory for the National Humanities Alliance and all of its partners, including JNCL-NCLIS, as the initial proposals from the House of Representatives eliminated all funding for NEH. The National Science Foundation, which has an active research program in linguistics, remained level-funded at the 2014 amounts.