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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Earmarks and Higher Education

Katherine Knott at Inside Higher Ed:
Higher education has been a top beneficiary of earmarks, which returned in 2021 after Democrats reversed a decade-long ban and made several reforms to the process. Earmarks, which have been renamed “congressionally directed spending” in the Senate and “community project funding” in the House of Representatives, send federal funds for specific projects to lawmakers’ districts and states.

“We needed a shot in the arm,” said Dannel Malloy, chancellor of the University of Maine System. “This is allowing that to happen.”

Of the more than 500 institutions that requested and received earmarks, the system had the most projects funded, which ranged from $17,000 to $8 million, according to an analysis of an Inside Higher Ed database of earmarks in the federal budget. The system’s use of earmarks is similar to how other institutions have used this process—to advance strategic goals, repair facilities and address challenges in their communities.