WASHINGTON, D.C. — An appeal to Congress to raise fiscal 2003
funding for NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship
Program was made Tuesday (April 16, 2001) by Yervant Terzian, a
Cornell University astronomy professor and director of the program in
New York state.

Terzian noted that the 2003 federal budget recommendation of $19.1
million for the program, which operates in every state plus Puerto
Rico and the District of Columbia, was a reduction from the $28
million requested by the Space Grant program and below fiscal 2002
funding of $24.1 million. The reduced appropriation, he noted, would
set back the program to funding levels that had lasted for several
years before fiscal 2002.

Testifying before the House appropriations subcommittee for Veterans
Administration, Housing and Urban Development and independent
agencies, Terzian reminded representatives that every year the
consortia that make up the Space Grant program award more than 2,200
scholarships and fellowships to students. “These are the students who
will fill the high technology jobs in NASA and the aerospace industry
in the years ahead and hopefully lead our nation to new horizons,”
said Terzian, who is the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical
Sciences at Cornell, Ithaca, N.Y.

The NASA Space Grant program was created by Congress in 1987 and now
has almost 800 affiliates, including 513 colleges and universities,
69 businesses and industries, 41 state and local entities and 169
other entities, such as museums and libraries. Terzian, who has been
director of the Cornell-based New York Space Grant Consortium for
eight years, said that in testifying he was representing all of the
nation’s Space Grant directors.

In appealing to the subcommittee for an appropriation of $28 million,
the amount specified in the last NASA authorization bill covering
fiscal 2001 and 2002, Terzian noted that the funding must support an
award of $475,000 a year to only half the states. The remainder
receive only $220,000 a year. “Obviously, most states are working and
hoping to get to the $475,000 level. New York is one of the most
populated states and the competition within the state for funding is
severe,” he said.

The Space Program, he noted, is conducting a competition to raise
four or five additional states to the higher funding level, and hopes
to increase funding to another five or six states. “The Space Grant
directors sought the additional funding, and the focus on work-force
development because we believe that it is so important to attract,
educate and retain young Americans in high technology jobs,” he said.

Improved funding for the Space Grant program also would allow the
start of a nationwide effort to develop a network of student-built
and –operated satellite programs “This year’s proposal focuses on
scientific experiments which can be conducted throughout the U.S. and
which will help students develop practical, work-oriented skills by
designing, building, launching and operating missions of growing
complexity,” Terzian said.

He told the committee members, “We who participate in the Space Grant
program believe that it has a strong base of accomplishments and that
it reaches students and faculty in a way that no other program does.
For a relatively small amount of federal funding, coupled with
leveraged resources, Space Grant is contributing to the development
of students, teachers and professionals educated and trained to help
maintain the U.S.’s premier position in science and technology.”

Related World Wide Web sites: The following sites provide
additional information on this news release. Some might not be part
of the Cornell University community, and Cornell has no control over
their content or availability.

NASA Space Grant program: http://calspace.ucsd.edu/spacegrant/

New York Space Grant Consortium: http://astrosun.tn.cornell.edu/SpaceGrant/