OSU cheers federal investments in spending bill

The 2018 federal spending bill adopted by Congress and signed into law late last week by President Trump includes critical investments in higher education financial aid, research and infrastructure at Oregon State University and nationally, the school said Monday.

“As Oregon’s statewide university, OSU is driving key research to promote knowledge and economic development opportunities around the state,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “Funding included in this spending bill allows us to extend those efforts even further.”

Ray credited Oregon’s congressional delegation, including Sen. Jeff Merkley, who represents the state on the Senate Appropriations panel, for the important investments in this legislation to serve core needs throughout the state.

Ray expressed concern for continued uncertainty regarding the status of DACA – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. “I urge Congress and the President to act quickly and enact statutory authority for DACA,” Ray said. 

The federal legislation included Oregon State funding for the following:

  • National Science Foundation Regional Class Vessel Program: The program will receive $105 million for OSU to continue construction of the second of three regional research vessels. OSU is presently leading construction of the first vessel to be homeported in Newport and which will primarily serve the West Coast.
  • Marine Energy Research and Development: The bill provides new funding for university research and development of marine energy technology innovation.
  • Rangeland Ecosystem Research Initiatives: the bill provides $1 million of new funding for collaborative science-based conservation research, demonstration, and engagement approaches to address ecosystem challenges affecting the Great Basin Region. These funds will enable OSU working with ARS and other partners to promote healthy natural habitats, as well as agricultural productivity. 
  • Forest Product Research: the bill provides $3.5 million, including $1 million that will be directed to OSU, for research and development of innovative engineered wood products to be developed through the OSU’s Tall Wood Design Institute. The institute is a partnership with the University of Oregon.

Nationally, the spending bill provided continued funding for students to have access to an affordable higher education, including continued investment in the Pell Grant program, federal work-study programs, and other campus-based programs to support student access and success.