Concern grows over expansion of earmarking.In 1985, John Silber John Robert Silber (born August 15, 1926) is the controversial former president of Boston University and unsuccessful conservative Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts in the 1990 election. , the president of Boston University Boston University, at Boston, Mass.; coeducational; founded 1839, chartered 1869, first baccalaureate granted 1871. It is composed of 16 schools and colleges. , justified universities going directly to Congress for financial support by arguing that peer review functioned as an "old-boy" network that deserved to be bypassed because it put most federal support for research into the hands of about 20 institutions (SN: 8/3/85, p.71).
Back then, the practice seemed exceptional. But not anymore. In 1980, Congress earmarked less than $11 million for specific academic projects and set aside none the next year. But in fiscal year (FY) 1992, Congress approved almost $708 million to support 499 such projects. During the past decade, almost $2.5 billion in federal support for academia has skirted traditional merit review, says Rep. George E. Brown Jr. (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
At one time, most earmarks set aside funds for buildings. "But there are more and more instances where [they're] going for research," says Joel Widder, director of legislative affairs for the National Science Foundation. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Brown's committee, 42 percent of the $708 million earmarked in 1992 supported research and development.
Moreover, it seems these decisions are slipping through the fingers of science's old-boy network old-boy network
An informal, exclusive system of mutual assistance and friendship through which men belonging to a particular group, such as the alumni of a school, exchange favors and connections, as in politics or business: into the hands of a different closed circle, that of a few lobbyists and powerful legislators. As a result, just a few institutions reap the rewards of these changes. Out of some 3,600 U.S. colleges and universities, only 170 received these direct federal appropriations in 1992, Brown says.
Early last week, Brown's committee released an interim report on academic earmarks and urged Congress to take steps to take action; to move in a matter.
See also: Step to prevent the continued expansion of this practice. The committee based its report on figures compiled by the Congressional Research Service The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a branch of the Library of Congress that provides objective, nonpartisan research, analysis, and information to assist Congress in its legislative, oversight, and representative functions. U.S. and on responses by 50 universities to letters sent by Brown about earmarked projects awarded those institutions.
Several of the institutions receiving large appropriations in fiscal 1992 (see chart) also rank among the top 25 all-time recipients of earmarks. They vary from small schools such as the 1,000-student Wheeling Jesuit College in West Virginia West Virginia, E central state of the United States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania and Maryland (N), Virginia (E and S), and Kentucky and, across the Ohio R., Ohio (W). Facts and Figures
Area, 24,181 sq mi (62,629 sq km). Pop. , awarded a total of $29 million, to large universities such as Iowa State University Academics
ISU is best known for its degree programs in science, engineering, and agriculture. ISU is also home of the world's first electronic digital computing device, the Atanasoff–Berry Computer. , the leading overall recipient with $91.6 million.
The 170 institutions do not always represent "outsiders" shorted by science's old-boy system, Brown notes. Half of the top 20 recipients of competitively awarded federal research money also have gotten earmarks.
Many of these institutions do so well because "they all have friends in high places For the Mike Oldfield song, see .
In High Places is a 1960 novel written by Arthur Hailey, who is better known through his other books like The Evening News and Airport. ," Brown writes.
Two kinds of legislation, and two sets of congressional committees, guide the allocation of funds. Periodically, Congress passes laws proposed by so-called authorizing committees that set budget ceilings for each federal agency. Each year, appropriations committees In the United States government, the Appropriations Committee can refer to either:
"The authorizers tend to think that the appropriators have overstepped their bounds," Widder says. The report notes that in FY 1992, 20 states got almost 79 percent of the academic earmarks and that these states have 12 senators and 34 representatives on appropriations committees.
Those individuals can slip unauthorized earmarks into any agency's budget --such as for new hospital buildings in legislation funding the Department of Energy -- at the last minute or bury Bury (bĕ`rē), city (1991 pop. 60,785) and metropolitan district, NE England, located in the Manchester metropolitan area on the Irwell River and linked by canal with Bolton and Manchester. them in reports that accompany a bill. As a result, little discussion about these allocations goes on, says Brown, who urges that site-specific earmarks be banned and that agencies be able to ignore earmarks without fear of political reprisal reprisal, in international law, the forcible taking, in time of peace, by one country of the property or territory belonging to another country or to the citizens of the other country, to be held as a pledge or as redress in order to satisfy a claim. .
Top 10 Recipients in FY 1992 Schools Overall Rank(*) Dollars 1. University of Alaska 2 $45,063,000 2. Boston University 10 $29,000,000 3. Michigan State University 13 $23,172,000 4. University of Maryland 23 $22,770,000 5. Wheeling Jesuit College 21 $21,000,000 6. University of Rochester 7 $20,300,000 7. University of West Virginia 5 $19,625,000 8. University of Hawaii 6 $16,941,000 9. Indiana University 17 $13,688,000 10. University of North Dakota 12 $13,681,000 (*) Rank based on total earmark funding from FY 1980-1992