News Topic

Advocacy, Funding for History

The American Historical Association signed onto a letter from the Coalition for International Education to Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Tom Cole supporting increased funding for the US Department of Education’s international and foreign language education programs. The letter strongly endorses a bipartisan letter from 116 House members recommending increased funding for International Education and Foreign Language Studies, including for HEA-Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs at their FY 2010 levels as adjusted by inflation.

May 12, 2021

Dear Chairwoman DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole,

The undersigned organizations express deep appreciation to the subcommittee for your continued support for the U.S. Department of Education’s international and foreign language education programs. Due to severe budget limitations in FY 2011, these programs sustained a 43% reduction that has not been replenished or kept pace with inflation. We are especially grateful for the subcommittee’s leadership in the last two years that resulted in a cumulative increase of $6 million for these critical programs at a time of continued budget constraints.

As the subcommittee begins work on the FY 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we strongly endorse the bipartisan letter from 116 House Members led by Reps. David Price (D-NC) and Don Young (R-AK) recommending $151.4 million in funding for International Education and Foreign Language Studies, including $134.3 million for HEA-Title VI and $17.1 million for Fulbright-Hays programs. We believe this request to restore funding to their FY 2010 levels as adjusted by inflation is timely to address rising national needs for international expertise and global competencies.

Today the nation’s security, its economic growth, and its success in navigating increasingly complex global challenges hinge on our ability to understand and engage with diverse cultures at home and around the world. New challenges require a far wider and deeper range of knowledge about the world, its cultures and many more of its languages, from high-level expertise to a globally competent workforce and informed citizenry.

While well-documented demands for international skills and knowledge are growing by the day, our educational institutions must be better prepared to meet our global challenges. A 2017 Congressionally requested Report of the AAAS Commission on Language Learning in the U.S. recommended an increase in funding for Title VI and Fulbright-Hays to support a 21st century education strategy that “promotes broad access, values international competencies, and nurtures deep expertise in world languages and cultures.”

As foundational programs for internationalizing U.S. higher education for over six decades, this federal-university partnership ensures our nation’s educational capacity and deep knowledge about all world regions, international business, and over 200 foreign languages, and at all levels of education. Most of the less commonly taught languages and world regions of strategic interest would not be taught in our schools and colleges on a regular basis if not for its unparalleled national capacity in teaching and resources. It provides extensive outreach and collaboration among all types and levels of educational institutions, including those underserved, as well as government agencies, and corporations. Other complementary international education activities in the Departments of Defense, State and Commerce, which have more targeted priorities, depend on the Title VI educational infrastructure and resources to further their strategic goals. While the Department of Education works to ensure that their programs prioritize the targeted language and world regional resource needs of these agencies, the independent scholarship and diverse perspectives on world regions and international business that these programs enable are often sought by all branches of government.

Restoration of funding would enable and energize resumption of significant progress made in the decade immediately after 9-11, such as increasing the numbers of less-commonly taught language courses, fellowships and students served. Key foreign language, regional studies, international business, research and education abroad infrastructures and capacity would be replenished and interdisciplinary programs would increase. Many more programs would be made available to address the nation’s critical needs for advanced fluency in foreign languages, world regions and international business. Students from all racial and socio-economic backgrounds would have more opportunities to obtain the international experience and skills in growing demand across a wide range of professional and technical fields impacting our global engagement, security and competitiveness. The attached document charts the funding trend since FY 2010 and outlines how the programs’ infrastructure and capacity may be restored with the proposed reinvestment.

Thank you for your consideration of our request. We appreciate your continued support for these programs, and would be pleased to provide any further information the subcommittee may need.

Submitted by the following 31 organizations:

African Studies Association
Alliance for International Exchange
American Association of Community Colleges
American Council of Learned Societies
ACTFL: American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
American Councils for International Education
American Historical Association
American Political Science Association
American Society for Engineering Education
Association for Asian Studies
Association for International Business Education and Research
Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Association of International Education Administrators
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
Association of Research Libraries
Center for Global Education at Asia Society
Consortium of Social Science Associations
Council of American Overseas Research Centers
Council of Directors of National Resource Centers
Council of Graduate Schools
The Forum on Education Abroad
Joint National Committee for Languages
Latin American Studies Association
Middle East Studies Association
Modern Language Association
NAFSA: Association of International Educators
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
National Coalition for History
National Council for Languages and International Studies
National Humanities Alliance
North American Small Business International Trade Educators Association

cc: Members and Staff of the House Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies