Higher ed gets $2.3 billion in earmarks

March 24, 2008 at 9:43 AM

NEW YORK, March 24 (UPI) -- The Chronicle of Higher Education says Congress set aside a record $2.3 billion last year for pet projects and research at U.S. colleges and universities.

An analysis published by The Chronicle Monday shows despite calls for a moratorium on home state projects, members of Congress added earmarks totaling $300 million more than the previous year, The New York Times reported.

Projects receiving funding ranged from research on reducing odors from swine and poultry to building centers honoring lawmakers.

The largest single earmark for higher education was added by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., for an engineering and science center at the University of South Alabama.

Overall, Mississippi State University raked in the most earmark money by landing $43 million for more than 30 projects.

Earmarks are viewed as particularly controversial in the area of higher education because they bypass the normal route for financing scientific research, the Times said.

Critics say universities receive more money with less scrutiny by lobbying their home-state lawmakers.

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