Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




TRADE WARS
Universities lobby for a seat at the table
by Mara Grebnick, David Unger | Jean Song, Medill News Service
Washington (UPI) Jul 20, 2012


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

In academia it takes more than prestigious faculty and ground-breaking research to win the attention of lawmakers.

From 2002-11, the 10 universities that spent the most in Washington paid a combined $84.4 million to either hire lobbyists or pay for in-house federal relations staff, data from the Center for Responsive Politics indicate. In 2011, those 10 schools spent $7.7 million, a 24 percent increase from $6.2 million a decade ago.

Universities have long had a presence in Washington but at a time when more institutions are competing for fewer federal resources, non-profit universities are spending millions to petition Congress and federal agencies.

The State University of New York, the nation's largest state university system, has doled out more than any of its peers for lobbying from 2002-11, the Center for Responsive Politics said. SUNY is followed by the California State University system and Johns Hopkins University.

A diverse range of issues

Universities hire lobbyists to represent myriad interests, which range from federal student aid and loan programs, visa requirements for foreign students, and specific research interests, officials said.

In 2011, California State University played a role in maintaining $17 billion in funding for the need-based Pell Grant program, the university's federal relations staff said. The funds helped maintain the maximum Pell Grant of $5,550 and limited cuts to student eligibility that would have affected about half of California State University students who are non-traditional, part-time students.

Records from 2009 list economic stimulus funding as one issue targeted by SUNY's lobbyists. A year after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the school received more than $109.7 million in recovery funds to support infrastructure, education and research.

Representatives from California State Universities said that even K-12 education is important to universities because they want to ensure students are prepared for college.

The lobbying activities of universities extend beyond grants and student aid.

"The issues that would impact universities are almost anything we could think of," said Gerald Sroufe, the director of government relations at the American Educational Research Association, an advocacy group in Washington.

"Universities get involved in a number of things that are not about their curriculum or even about financial aid, but have to do with just the magnitude of their enterprises, which very often are very large," Sroufe said.

Defense bills, taxes, land use policy and a host of other issues outside the specific field of education, all affect the mission of these institutions, Sroufe said.

For the large universities maintaining a constant presence in and around Capitol Hill, the cost is "not particularly expensive" given the return on investment, said James Gelb, assistant vice chancellor for federal relations at California State University.

In the context of a typical university's operating budget, the amount of funds used to pay lobbyists is a very small percentage. At SUNY, where the 2010-11 budget was $11.5 billion, $1.2 million went to lobbying last year.

Lobbying budgets tend to fluctuate from year to year, driven by state and school budgets and the varying ambitions of school leadership, experts said.

Federal relations

Because no two universities are the same, university officials say it is important for individual schools to communicate its unique needs and interests to policy makers whose decisions impact all aspects of higher education.

"We help design policies that make sense for students like ours, and advocate for resources that are important to the state," Gelb said.

Lobbying also serves an educational role in its own right by communicating the interests of students, faculty and administrators to policymakers.

"You hear what some of these members say in markups and committee hearings and it's like, you wish their institution was there more often so they had a better understanding of how these policies affect what happens on campus, or how these programs work, or what the value is of federal investments," said Ellin Nolan, president of Washington Partners LLC, which lobbies on education issues.

Nolan, who has lobbied on behalf of universities in the past and has worked closely with educational coalitions, finds nothing wrong with the idea of educational institutions building strong relationships with their delegations.

"[Universities] are important constituents," she said. "And they're important economic engines, often, in the communities they reside in."

Several universities operate satellite offices in Washington to build and maintain relationships with policymakers. Recently, universities including Northwestern University and Duke University have expanded their presence or opened offices in Washington.

In some cases, a multipurpose office isn't just used for lobbyists but as an outpost of the chancellor's or president's office, experts said. And having a foot on the ground in Washington helps campuses understand what opportunities there are for the university to, for example, compete for grants.

As budgets tighten and the landscape of higher education continues to evolve, Nolan and others expect to see universities continue to make their presence known on Capitol Hill.

"We're all in the same game of trying to gain access to policy makers through legitimate means and then to try to persuade them of a point of view that benefits our members," said Sroufe.

For Sroufe, these efforts can be self-perpetuating.

"Hardly anyone ever eliminates a government relations program, because people always feel vulnerable," he said. "Each new issue produces a new set of lobbyists around it."

.


Related Links
Global Trade News






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TRADE WARS
Google profits surge on growing ad revenue
San Francisco (AFP) July 19, 2012
Google on Thursday reported a surge in quarterly profit to $2.79 billion on the back of rising online advertising revenue, beating Wall Street expectations. The California-based online search titan's profit rose 11 percent in the quarter ended June 30 as consolidated revenue climbed 35 percent to $12.21 billion compared with the same fiscal quarter last year. "Google standalone had a str ... read more


TRADE WARS
Japan sets compensation for Fukushima evacuees

Japan firm 'told workers to lie about radiation dose'

Raytheon technology to transform commercial cargo ships into cutting-edge humanitarian aid delivery platforms

Two China workers killed in Singapore tunnel accident

TRADE WARS
New Notre Dame research raises questions about iris recognition systems

PayPal stuffs startup into its smartphone wallet

Heat is Source of 'Pioneer Anomaly'

To Extinguish a Hot Flame, DARPA Studied Cold Plasma

TRADE WARS
Aquifer could supply water for centuries

How to make global fisheries worth five times more

Sea rise threatens 'paradise' Down Under

Faroe Islands blast threat of EU sanctions in mackerel war

TRADE WARS
Greenland glacier loses ice

The challenges facing the vulnerable Antarctic

5.5-mile-long landslide spotted in Alaska

Antarctica faces major threats in the 21st century, says Texas A and M researcher

TRADE WARS
Conflict, hunger, cholera and locusts: Mali's woes mount

Scientists Develop New Carbon Accounting Method to Reduce Farmers' Use of Nitrogen Fertilizer

Enhanced royal jelly produces jumbo queen bee larvae

Refining the tool kit for sustainable fisheries

TRADE WARS
X-rays illuminate the origin of volcanic hotspots

Heavy rain fears as typhoon menaces Japan

Japan warily eyes typhoon

Typhoon dumps rain on flood-weary Japan

TRADE WARS
China doubles loans to Africa to $20 billion

Sudan rebels claim Darfur helicopter shoot-down

Nigeria increases defense spending

Afro-Japanese fusion music puzzles traditionalists

TRADE WARS
Oregon's Paisley Caves as old as Clovis sites - but not Clovis

Unique Neandertal arm morphology due to scraping, not spearing

Neanderthals at El Sidron, Northern Spain, had knowledge of plants' healing qualities

Endangered languages get a Google protection plan




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement