On May 22, the House Science Committee approved, by voice vote, legislation (H.R. 3130) designed to increase the number of students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Sponsored by Committee Chair Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), the bill would establish a program within the National Science Foundation to provide grants to colleges and universities to increase the quantity and quality of graduates from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degree programs. This program would be authorized at $25 million in FY2003.
Additionally, the bill would authorize $8 million in each of FY2003 through FY2008 to establish training and sabbatical programs for college and university faculty members to improve their teaching skills.
Among the four amendments considered and approved en bloc by voice vote, was a proposal by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) to encourage the director of the grant program to increase the number of students, including women, typically underrepresented in the fields of science and technology.
Rep. Boehlert said that the bill was critically needed by the high-tech industry that has seen declines in the number of students majoring in technology-related fields.