Education IT dollars grow

Fiscal 2002 budget

President Bush's Education Department budget request, released Monday, generally calls for increased spending on a number of information technology projects.

Among domestic Cabinet agencies, Education received the largest percentage boost in its overall budget proposal. Within the department's IT programs, the big gainers in terms of percentage include Internet and intranet development and the Education Central Automated Processing System (EDCAPS).

The president is calling for $4.4 million to be spent on Education's Internet and intranet sites, an increase of $2.7 million over fiscal 2001. The funding would be used to increase technical support for the sites and help expand electronic information distribution in order to comply with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act.

Funding for EDCAPS, a financial management system, jumps from $7.2 million to $18.5 million under Bush's plan. The money would support continuing operations and improvements that include integrating the new general ledger system with other financial systems and greater support for data reconciliation, audits and financial statement preparation.

Other efforts receiving increases under Bush's plan include network operations and software licensing, IT security and asset management.

Funding for Education's IT architecture development program would decrease $300,000 to $900,000 under Bush's plan, and funding to install a Web-based travel system was cut $766,000 to $600,000.

Bush's request also includes $46.9 million to support continuing efforts to modernize the Office of Student Financial Assistance, the performance-based organization in charge of administering $60 billion in student loans and grants to higher education students. The modernization effort includes consolidating separate, stovepiped systems and enabling simpler access and use for students, schools, lenders and guaranty agencies.

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