Provision aids Harris Fellowship recipients – Washington Update – Congress allows continuation of Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship

Congress officially has killed it, but
the Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship
program lives on–at least temporarily.
A little-known provision of
Congress’s mammoth budget bill
allows for continuation grants under
the program, named for the African
American cabinet officer under
President Jimmy Carter. It supports
under-represented minorities and
women in graduate, professional and
doctoral programs.

Congress earlier voted to kill the
program, saying it duplicated another
federal initiative, Graduate Assistance
in Areas of National Need
(GAANN). Graduate schools
participating in GAANN must recruit
students from under-represented
groups to remain eligible for

Just before adjournment, however,
Congress authorized the use of 1997
GAMIN funds for continuation grants
in the Harris program. The rationale
behind the move was that GAANN
had not scheduled a new grant
competition during fiscal year 1996,
according to the Council of Graduate
Schools. There are no funds available
for new Harris grants, however.

Recipients of Harris funds
consistently cited the program as a
major source for minority and female
scholars, particularly
with financial needs.
Also eligible for continuation
grants under GAANN in 1997 is the
Javits Fellowship program, which
supports outstanding students in arts,
humanities and social science.

Lawmakers voted earlier to terminate
this program as well.
Congress “has, in effect,
consolidated these [three] programs,”
according to the council. The Clinton
administration had made a similar
recommendation earlier.

Congress allotted $30 million for
GAANN in fiscal year 1997. The
Education Department (ED) recently
announced a new GAANN grant
competition with $6.5 million available.
Some of the remaining funds: could go
to the Javits and Harris continuation

GAANN’s $30-million
appropriation for 1997 is a $2.75
million increase above its fiscal 1996
allocation. GAANN received as little
as $16 million as recently as 1990,
when the Harris program was
funded at a similar level.

RELATED ARTICLE: ED Seeks International Consortia
The Education Department (ED) is looking for
up to ten colleges and universities that want to
form consortia with higher education institutions
in Mexico and Canada.

The grant competition under the Fund for
the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education
(FIPSE) will encourage coordination and
sharing of curricula, student exchanges and
other activities that open up new educational
opportunities in North America. Canadian and
Mexican institutions that participate in any
consortia also are eligible for funding from
their own governments.

Proposals should address an important
problem or need, improve on or depart from
existing practice, and provide far-reaching
improvements, the department said.

Applications became available Dec. 2 and
are due by March 14, 1997. ED expects to
award ten grants of $100,000 to $150,000 each
for three years. For more information or an
application, contact: FIPSE, ED, 7th and D Sts.
SW, Room 3100, ROB-3, Washington, DC
20202-5175; (202) 708-5750.

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