The Impact of Budget Cuts on Three Directorates of the National Science Foundation

PAD-82-25: Published: Jan 26, 1982. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the effect of recent budget cuts on the following three National Science Foundation Directorates: Science and Engineering Education; Biological, Behavioral, and Social Sciences; and Scientific, Technological, and International Affairs.

GAO isolated the areas which would be affected the most by the reduced budget, based on first quarter fiscal year 1982 planned expenditure rates. In the Science and Engineering Education Directorate, all science and engineering education programs would be eliminated with the exception of graduate fellowships. In the Biological, Behavioral, and Social Sciences Directorate, substantial cutbacks would occur in the social, economic, cognitive, and anthropological sciences. In the Scientific, Technological, and International Affairs Directorate, reductions would take place in almost all of the programs. In addition, support to State and local governments would be sharply curtailed, and some programs would be totally eliminated. The three Directorates had not had any reductions in force as of the end of 1981; however, two Directorates had achieved reduction through attrition. As of the beginning of 1982, grant awards in all three Directorates had been affected by the budget cuts, and other planned commitments, such as continuing awards, have been scaled back. GAO based its evaluation on a projected annual funding level, but the actual appropriation, passed in late 1981, provided a larger total funding than the projection. GAO noted that, depending on how this appropriation is allocated, the increased funding will modify the planned reductions of personnel, the funds available for grants, and the impact of reductions in the three Directorates.

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