Campus Safety Grants: It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

Grant applications for programs that are sustainable, reduce unemployment and focus on more than just the purchasing of equipment have the best chance of being awarded.

The mid-term elections, a stalled economic recovery and a government functioning with an undecided budget are leaving campus administrators and bean counters with deer-in-the-headlights paralysis. The only real certainty is that things are still very uncertain.

With a “cut spending” battle cry from politicians, we have an army of mid-term elected congressional representatives ready to declare war on non-essential spending. The overwhelming train of thought for many in the grants profession is that no programs are 100 percent safe. That thought is perhaps a little bit too apocalyptic, as a new herd of freshman politicians will soon discover the difference between their idealistic campaign promises and the stark reality of running the federal government.

The grants highway ahead is likely to have some potholes and a few bridges may be washed out, but we should still be able to arrive at our destinations by simply trading in the family sedan for a more robust SUV. There will certainly be some detours ahead, so you will need to prepare properly and have a good GPS onboard. Reading and interpreting the warning signs will be critical.

Non-Mission Critical Programs Will be Cut

So what are these two major potholes that we are going to need to avoid? What warning signs should we be heeding closely? An astute observer would review the platforms used to elect these new congressional representatives for a glimpse of the new highway. Most political platforms and promises revolved around wasteful and unnecessary spending, and unemployment.

We are indeed likely to see some programs being eliminated, but those programs will be ones that are not considered mission critical. Many of these grant programs popped up during the economic utopia born from inflated property values and the subsequent property taxes that they generated locally. Any programs that would fall into the category of being nice to have but not crucial will likely fall victim to elimination or reduced appropriation.

Experience tends to indicate that social services programs, both domestically and abroad, will be bearing the brunt of these eliminations. There is a tremendous groundswell of public opinion growing against USAID programs overseas, when our own citizens are desperate for assistance. A “take care of your own first” attitude is emerging as a result and was part and parcel of the platforms of many recently elected officials. I also see faith-based programs as suffering similar types of losses in funding. Some may even face elimination.

In the education arena, spending in the arts and extracurricular activities will remain somewhat stable, however existing money will more than likely be focused on attempting to retain current instructional staff and student population levels. For universities and colleges, money for research programs will probably suffer further reductions as this belt tightening occurs. Programs such as studying methane gas from cow chips or studying the effect of living under electrical transmission lines are more than likely headed for the chopping block.

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