We recognize the difficult conditions facing the current budget and we appreciate the efforts being made by the Administration to invest in the future through its overall support for basic research.
Given the fact the Office of Science received a 2 percent increase over last year, we are very concerned that the nuclear physics program was cut 3.8 percent and the level of funding included in Department of Energy budget for FRIB was only $22 million, significantly below the agreed-upon budget of $55 million. While we need to review the detailed budget to determine the precise impact this funding level will have on the project, it will inevitably prolong the timeline and increase costs. We will continue to prepare for the April readiness review which remains an important part of the process. We will work with members of our congressional delegation who have been such staunch supporters of FRIB to keep this important project on track.
With respect to federal student aid, we are encouraged with President Obama’s focus on student aid. We were pleased he acknowledged in his budget and during his visit to Michigan in January that states should halt their damaging disinvestment in higher education. Those factors have been the primary driver of increased tuition at public universities around the country. As we have clearly stated, higher education is as much a collective, public good as it is a personal benefit. Now is the time to renew the essential partnership between universities, states, and the federal government to support public higher education. We all have a critical stake in the outcome. But we must beware of the dangers of one-size-fits-all approaches that could harm quality rather than achieving the goal of making higher education available to more individuals regardless of economic status.
-Lou Anna K. Simon, President
For more information on MSU's FRIB project, visit frib.msu.edu.