R&D Funding:

The Department of Education in Perspective

PEMD-88-18FS: Published: May 13, 1988. Publicly Released: May 25, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO: (1) compared the Department of Education's history of fiscal resources for other departments and agencies' R&D budget histories; and (2) described the relationship between administration budget requests and congressional appropriations for education research and statistics.

GAO found that: (1) between 1980 and 1987, agencies experienced a 24-percent increase in overall R&D budget obligations; (2) eight major agencies and departments had declines in budget obligations ranging from 2 to 47 percent, while Education had a 33-percent reduction; (3) five major agencies had increases, with the Department of Defense (DOD) having the highest growth, of 81 percent; (4) in 1987, Education's funding for R&D was $124 million, accounting for 0.02 percent of total federal R&D obligations, while DOD funding was $36.1 billion, or 64 percent of total federal R&D obligations; (5) funding for major statistical units declined 21 percent between 1980 and 1986; (6) program evaluation activities for all agencies other than DOD were 44 percent lower than the overall level for 1980; (7) the President's budget estimates and congressional appropriations declined steeply between 1980 and 1982; and (8) the administration request and the congressional appropriation were identical in 1984 and 1986, the appropriation exceeded the request in 1983, the administration request was above the level of previous years in 1985 and 1987, and appropriations exceeded the previous year's appropriations in 1983, 1985, 1987, and 1988.

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