Funding

After approval in both Chambers of Congress last week, President Barack Obama signed into law an FY 2017 continuing resolution (CR) that will keep the government funded until April 28, 2017, at the fiscal cap of $1.07 trillion, CQ.com reported. The legislation allocates a total of “$58.8 billion for the International Affairs Budget, an increase of $4.2 billion (8%) above FY16 levels”, according to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

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For the first time in 14 years, Congress approved and sent to President Obama to be signed into law, a Department of State Authorization Act (S.1635), as announced in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) press release.

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The House of Representative’s Committee on Appropriations released the 2017 fiscal year report for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs. The Committee recommended a total of $602.79 million for Educational and Cultural Exchange programs. In total, the Committee recommendations for Academic programs totaled $311,441 million, while Professional and Cultural Exchanges totaled $208,240 million.

Please see below for more details on the Committee Report:

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Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY17 State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) spending bill, including State Department exchanges. The House SFOPS subcommittee also released a draft bill text in advance of the mark-up of its FY17 SFOPS spending bill tomorrow.

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Institutional grants and scholarship programs are increasing participation in study abroad, and helping students prepare for future career choices, according to two reports released during the 2016 NAFSA conference last week. Both reports specifically highlight the positive impact of these funding opportunities on students from underrepresented populations.

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Ahead of the G-7 Summit taking place this week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that over the next five years Japan will accept 150 Syrians as exchange students, rather than refugees, allowing them to attend Japanese universities.

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The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF), a nonprofit founded by singer Rihanna, announced a new scholarship to fund study at U.S. higher education institutions for students from Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, and Brazil. 

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A Congressional sign-on letter in support of FY 2017 funding for State Department exchange programs garnered 120 signatures from Members of Congress. This is the fourth time in recent years that the Alliance has partnered with Representative Hank Johnson’s office to send a Dear Colleague letter to the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee. The letter requests the highest funding level possible for State Department exchanges in FY 2017.

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A Senate sign-on letter in support of robust funding for Department of State international exchange programs, led for the second year by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), garnered a total of 19 signatures, six more than last year’s letter. The signers of the 2016 letter include:

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In the last budget request of his presidency, President Obama requested $628.9 million for core Department of State educational and cultural exchange programs.

This request represents an approximately 6.4% increase over the FY16 funding level of $590.9 million—a robust number in difficult budget times (nearly $6 million higher than last year’s request of $623 million), and a concrete sign of the Obama administration’s support of exchanges.

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