In fiscal year 2007, U.S. federal agencies gave less science and engineering (S&E) funding to academic institutions that primarily serve minority students, according to a new National Science Foundation (www.nsf.gov).

According to the report, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) received $406 million in federal S&E dollars in fiscal year 2007, their lowest annual funding total since fiscal year 2001. It was the second year in a row HBCUs saw a drop in funding of science and engineering programs, representing an 8.6 percent drop from the previous reporting year in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Additionally, high-Hispanic-enrollment (HHE) institutions received $594 million in federal academic science and engineering support, a 1.6 percent decrease over the total received by HHE institutions in fiscal year 2006 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Meanwhile, funding for science and engineering programs at tribal colleges and universities has been erratic, according to the report. In fiscal year 2007, such funds decreased by 13.2 percent to $25 million, following a 20.4 percent decrease between fiscal years 2005 and 2006. However, funding for the previous reporting period between fiscal years 2004 and 2005 rose by 50.7 percent.

Academic science and engineering obligations come primarily from five federal entities. NSF provides about 15 percent of the federal support, the Department of Defense provides about 11 percent, the Department of Agriculture provides about four percent, and the Department of Energy provides about three percent. The Department of Health and Human Services, chiefly the National Institutes of Health, provides the largest share, 61 percent of total obligations.

On the whole, federal agencies gave less money to all academic institutions in fiscal year 2007, with the overall inflation-adjusted total decreasing 0.4 percent from fiscal year 2006 levels. Federal research and development obligations to all universities and colleges totaled $25.3 billion in fiscal 2007.