The Chronicle of Higher Education
Special Issues & Data

Congressional Earmarks for Higher Education, 2008

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Database: Congressional earmarks, 1990-2003

Earmarks are noncompetitive grants directed by Congress to specific constituents, including colleges and universities, usually in lawmakers' own districts or states. This practice -- also known as pork-barrel spending -- is controversial because it bypasses the normal competitions for federal grants.

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<< start | < previous | 1 - 30 of 2635 listings | next > | end >>
Institution
Earmarks
Description
Sponsors
Adrian College
Michigan
Health and Human Services
$478,492
to establish a nursing program
Rep. Walberg (R, Mich.)
Sen. Carl Levin (D, Mich.)
Sen. Stabenow (D, Mich.)
AIB College of Business
Iowa
Education
$383,187
to provide scholarships in captioning and court reporting
Rep. Fattah (D, Pa.)
Sen. Grassley (R, Iowa)
Sen. Harkin (D, Iowa)
Aims Community College
Colorado
Education
$42,249
for equipment for career training in the health professions
Rep. Udall (D, Colo.)
Rep. Musgrave (R, Colo.)
Sen. Salazar (D, Colo.)
Alabama A&M University
Alabama
Agriculture
$500,000
shared
To be shared with two universities, for research to reduce allergens in peanuts and to develop vaccines to desensitize people to peanut allergens
n/a
Alabama A&M University
Alabama
Commerce
$423,000
to provide weather stations that will produce near-real-time data on soil moisture and temperature through the Geospatial Data Analysis Center
Sen. Shelby (R, Ala.)
Alabama A&M University
Alabama
Energy
$492,000
for environmental research at the Integrated Research and Services program
Rep. Cramer (D, Ala.)
Sen. Shelby (R, Ala.)
Alabama A&M University
Alabama
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
$564,000
for higher-temperature, advanced-materials research and development
Sen. Shelby (R, Ala.)
Rep. Cramer (D, Ala.)
Alabama A&M University
Alabama
Small Business Administration
$200,000
for a research institute for small-business training and development
Rep. Cramer (D, Ala.)
Sen. Shelby (R, Ala.)
Alabama State University
Alabama
Commerce
$5,000,000
for construction of new microbiology facilities at the Life Sciences Building
Sen. Shelby (R, Ala.)
Alamo Community College District Central Office
Texas
Health and Human Services
$421,505
to renovate an existing hospital so it can be used as a nurse-training facility
Rep. Cuellar (D, Tex.)
Alaska Pacific University
Alaska
Transportation
$1,108,800
for road improvements
n/a
Albany Medical College
New York
Health and Human Services
$478,492
for the establishment of the Patient Safety Center at Albany Medical Center
Sen. Clinton (D, N.Y.)
Sen. Schumer (D, N.Y.)
Albany State University
Georgia
Agriculture
$657,366
shared
to be shared with Georgia Southern University, to provide assistance on Georgia agriculture water policy
Rep. Bishop (D, Ga.)
Rep. Kingston (R, Ga.)
Sen. Chambliss (R, Ga.)
Sen. Isakson (R, Ga.)
Albany State University
Georgia
Education
$525,654
shared
to be shared with two other colleges, for an initiative to increase the success of minority males and nontraditional students in postsecondary education
Rep. Bishop (D, Ga.)
Albany Technical College
Georgia
Education
$525,654
shared
to be shared with two other colleges, for an initiative to increase the success of minority males and nontraditional students in postsecondary education
Rep. Bishop (D, Ga.)
Albertson College of Idaho
Idaho
Education
$286,899
to support equipment, technology, and library upgrades
Sen. Craig (R, Idaho)
Sen. Crapo (R, Idaho)
Albright College
Pennsylvania
Education
$85,480
for laboratory-equipment acquisition
Sen. Specter (R, Pa.)
Albright College
Pennsylvania
Energy
$344,400
for construction of a science center
Rep. Gerlach (R, Pa.)
Alcorn State University
Mississippi
Agriculture
$176,000
joint research project with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service
n/a
Alcorn State University
Mississippi
Agriculture
$511,395
for research on genetic-marker identification and mapping of sweet potatoes
Sen. Cochran (R, Miss.)
Alcorn State University
Mississippi
Agriculture
$1,390,200
to support construction of a biotechnology laboratory
Sen. Cochran (R, Miss.)
Alcorn State University
Mississippi
Homeland Security
$27,000,000
shared
for work through the Southeast Region Research Initiative to help local, state, and tribal leaders develop ways to anticipate and stop terrorist events and enhance disaster response
Sen. Alexander (R, Tenn.)
Sen. Cochran (R, Miss.)
Sen. Corker (R, Tenn.)
Alcorn State University
Mississippi
Justice
$1,598,000
to fund a judicial-threat analysis center
Sen. Cochran (R, Miss.)
Alderson-Broaddus College
West Virginia
Health and Human Services
$118,886
for construction, renovation, and equipment for a nursing lab
Rep. Mollohan (D, W.Va.)
Alfred University
New York
Health and Human Services
$95,305
for research on children and families in rural western New York
Rep. Kuhl (R, N.Y.)
Sen. Clinton (D, N.Y.)
Sen. Schumer (D, N.Y.)
Alfred University
New York
Justice
$752,000
to support the Rural Justice Institute
Rep. Kuhl (R, N.Y.)
Sen. Clinton (D, N.Y.)
Sen. Schumer (D, N.Y.)
Alpena Community College
Michigan
Education
$243,667
for curriculum development for the Rural Communications Initiative
Sen. Carl Levin (D, Mich.)
Sen. Stabenow (D, Mich.)
Alvernia College
Pennsylvania
Education
$85,480
for scholarships and nursing-education programs
Sen. Specter (R, Pa.)
Rep. Gerlach (R, Pa.)
Alvernia College
Pennsylvania
Justice
$223,250
for equipment for police-officer training
Sen. Casey (D, Pa.)
American University
District of Columbia
Defense
$3,200,000
for the removal of military munitions, chemical-warfare material, and other toxic materials from the Spring Valley Defense Site, on and adjacent to American University
Rep. McGovern (D, Mass.)
<< start | < previous | 1 - 30 of 2635 listings | next > | end >>

NOTES ON THESE DATA

This database and accompanying news articles are based on a Chronicle survey of earmarks at institutions of higher education for the 2008 fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2007.

To assemble this list, The Chronicle relied on Congress's own definition of earmarks, first written last year: appropriations for specific amounts, directed by lawmakers to specific recipients, outside of the competitive award processes normally used by federal agencies to distribute grants. Using that definition, Congress listed earmarks in its spending bills for 2008 for the first time.

Legislators expressly identified the intended recipients in reports accompanying the appropriations bills, in letters of disclosure filed by House of Representatives members, and in news releases issued by senators and representatives. (The Chronicle obtained descriptions of the projects from those same sources.)

For some earmarks, the intended recipient was not spelled out in any of those sources. Most of those projects were sponsored by members of the Senate, which unlike the House chose not to disclose the recipients. As a result, this database may be incomplete.

Federal agencies assert that they also have a say over who gets money from Congressional earmarks and how much. The agencies often require the intended recipients of earmarks to submit grant applications that are reviewed before the recipients receive financing.

However, experts familiar with earmarks say these reviews appear to be pro forma because agency officials almost always give earmarked funds to the recipients favored by Congress. The agencies may take until the end of the fiscal year to complete the reviews and release the money.

For some earmarks, Congress specified multiple recipients and did not say how much money each was to get. The Chronicle's database lists the full amount of each such earmark for each academic partner involved, noting the amount as "shared." The project description usually indicates how many partners were involved in the project. In some cases, universities shared the money with corporations, municipal governments, and other organizations outside of academe.

The Chronicle did not consider those shared amounts when it ranked academic institutions and states receiving the most earmarked money.

The full value of each of these shared earmarks was counted only once in determining the total dollar amount of all 2,306 earmarks involving academic recipients this year.

Some earmarks listed did not go directly to an institution but still directly benefited it. The Chronicle included some earmarks, for example, provided to teaching hospitals affiliated with academic medical schools for research carried out by faculty members.

Dollar amounts reported may not be precise. Some agencies may subtract small amounts from the earmarked awards for their administrative costs. Further, some universities may redistribute some of their earmarked money to other colleges or corporations. Our list may not reflect all of those redistributions or reductions.

Some Department of Transportation earmarks in this database show no entry (N/A) for the Congressional sponsor. These projects were financed through a transportation bill (the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users) enacted in 2005, before Congress established that sponsors be publicly identified.

The Chronicle carried out annual surveys of academic earmarks between 1990 and 2003 using a somewhat different methodology. It relied on federal agencies' interpretations of Congress's intended recipients when they were not identified in spending bills. A database of those projects is available at http://chronicle.com/premium/stats/pork/legacyindex.php


TIPS ON SEARCHING

You may enter words or phrases that you want to find in the keyword search box. This query will look for the exact word(s) within the following categories in this database:

  • Descriptions of academic projects financed through earmarks.
  • Institutions receiving earmarks.
  • Federal agencies financing earmarks.
  • Congressional sponsors of earmarks (last names only).

Unlike some search engines, this one does not allow and, or, and not connectors to search for words in separate categories. For example, if you enter the search string Maine and blueberry in the keyword box, the search engine will not produce an earmark designated for the University of Maine for research on blueberries. But if you search on the University of Maine or blueberry, you will find such an earmark.

You can nevertheless search several of the categories at once. To perform such a search, type a search term in the keyword box and narrow the search by using the other boxes to pick specific states and agency names.