Stimulus promises Vermont $700 million

(NOTE: In this week’s issue of The Cynic, the headline on the front page, which reads, “Stimulus promises UVM $700 million” is in fact false.As the story discusses, it is the state of Vermont that received the stimulus package from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.)According to a press release from University Communications, the state of Vermont will receive $700 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.  Passed in February, the ARRA is an effort put forth by U.S. legislators and signed by  President Barack Obama to address the nation’s economic slump by providing one time funding to further job creation, green energy and education efforts throughout the economy. UVM Director of Federal Relations Wendy Koenig said that it is important for students to understand the stimulus plan for two reasons. “This stimulus is coming with student aid. It will help people stay in school, and I’m a firm believer that having a degree helps students find a job,” Koenig said.”Research and federal dollars flowing are going to give people in our general community jobs,” Koenig said.”So if there’s money flowing for scientific research then UVM can hire more lab techs and research analysts. So I think in that way they are helping to stimulate the economy,” she said.Interim Vice President for Research Ruth Farrell said the act also provides new opportunities for existing faculty.”The federal agencies that faculty go to for research or program development funding are now providing additional opportunities for professors to get involved in projects,” Farrell said. Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) Melody Burkins said that there are a lot of faculty proposals that are now being reconsidered due to the Reinvestment Act.”We’ve been sending out e-mails to our faculty to talk to program officers because a lot of proposals that didn’t have enough money might now get funded,” Burkins said. Farrel agreed.”This means the University will get the opportunity to get some funding to do activities the University wouldn’t otherwise engage in,” Farrell said.”It will benefit the whole scientific research infrastructure. Maybe it’s a new piece of equipment or the chance to give graduate students or undergraduate students a chance to do research,” she said.Chittenden 3-4 District Representative Kesha Ram said she sees the stimulus not only as an aide to Burlington, but as an aide to the Vermont.”Investment in higher education is an investment in our future and the vitality of our state,” Ram said.”I believe we have crafted a budget that protects access to educational opportunities in the state and the quality of the institutions themselves, given the tough times we face,” she said.