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Indicator IV-2 Distribution of NEH Program Funding among Activity Types
NOTE TO READERS: Please include the following reference when citing data from this page: "American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Humanities Indicators,".
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Updated 3/11/2013 with funding information for FY 2012.

As discussed in Indicator IV-1, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Funding Levels, the NEH is a grant-making agency that through its various programs distributes the bulk of its annual appropriation from Congress to organizations and individuals for a variety of humanities activities (the NEH’s program funding also includes monies it receives via interagency agreements and private donations, but these represent a small proportion of the agency’s total programmatic budget). Some of these program monies are distributed by NEH according to a legislatively mandated formula. (For a more detailed description of this formula, see Indicator IV-3, State Humanities Council Revenues.) The remainder of NEH program monies is distributed at the discretion of the agency within its programmatic divisions, each of which receives a set appropriation from Congress. Most of these discretionary funds are made available through a competitive process involving peer review. This indicator describes how NEH program funding was divided among different activity types in FY 2012.

As Figure IV-2 indicates, just over a third of all NEH program funding was distributed under the Federal/State Partnership program, with monies going to state humanities councils to support their administrative and programmatic operations. (For the dollar amounts distributed and greater detail as to the nature of the activities funded under each of the broad headings included in the figure, please see Supporting Table IV-2.) The next largest proportions of 2012 program monies, approximately 14% in each case, went for activities in the areas of (1) public programs and (2) preservation and access. Public programs brought the humanities to diverse audiences via television, film, traveling exhibitions, and other means. Preservation and access activities included the production of reference materials and resources, the digitization of historically significant newspapers, and the documentation of endangered languages.

Figure IV-2, Full Size
Supporting Data Supporting Data

The NEH’s research division was responsible for distributing approximately 13% of program monies. Most research funding was distributed in the form of fellowships and stipends to college and university faculty members, as well as to independent scholars. While the NEH briefly provided support for dissertation completion during the 1990s, the agency has not traditionally made awards to graduate students (for data describing graduate students’ sources of financial support, please see Indicator II-16, Paying for Graduate School). And unlike such federal science agencies as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, the NEH has never made awards to postdoctoral students.

The NEH distributed 12% of its program monies for education-related activities in FY 2012. This funding supported the professional development of humanities educators at both the K–12 and postsecondary levels. A key postsecondary initiative focused on humanities education designed to foster cross-cultural understanding among the nation’s community college students. (This activity was one of several conducted as part of Bridging Cultures, an agency-wide initiative designed to harness the “power of the humanities to promote understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives within the United States and abroad.”) The agency also distributed approximately 8% of its program funding in the form of challenge grants. Such grants are intended to enhance existing state and local humanities programs and institutions.

Almost 5% of NEH program monies went for grants and other awards in the digital humanities area. The agency’s newest unit (created in 2008), the Office of Digital Humanities funds activities that involve the use of digital technology to enrich humanities education and research, better preserve the source material on which such endeavors rely, and make the fruits of such scholarly labor more accessible. Activities funded by this office are often interdisciplinary and subsidized in conjunction with other entities, both public and private.

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