Department of Education to Make University Sustainability Grant Decisions
A “University Sustainablity Program (USP),” passed by Congress as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008) and authorized at the U.S. Department of Education, will distribute grants soon through the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). The USP envisions educating 3 million sustainability literate graduates each year.
The USP applicants, who should hear any day now about grant award decisions, are competing with five other invitational categories for $29 million. Although not the $50 million requested by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Congressman Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), or Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a portion of $29 million represents a significant increase in nationally available funding for sustainability education and wouldn’t have been possible without leadership from Jim Elder at the Campaign for Environmental Literacy who, with the American Association of Community Colleges, Second Nature, and National Wildlife Federation, worked to build support for the concept from 250 colleges and university presidents who signed a letter in support of enhanced federal funding to help integrate sustainability across courses, disciplines and operations.
A week from tomorrow, the Department of Education will host a two-day education sustainability summit in Washington, DC to hear from business, higher education, government and community leaders about economic development, career pathways and other priorities for moving the nation’s education for sustainablity agenda forward.