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Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) sent a letter to Congressional appropriators of the Subcommittee on Defense urging the allocation of $46 million for the Department of Defense (DoD) STARBASE Program. This program fosters STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education for children throughout the country.

“As a member of the Congressional STARBASE Caucus, I was disappointed to see that the President’s budget request eliminates funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) STARBASE Program. For over 27 years, this program has brought important STEM skills to students nationwide,” said Emmer.

“STARBASE is a vital tool in our effort to close the STEM achievement gap. If we fail to foster STEM education at a young age, we will continue to face workforce shortages, fall behind the pack in global innovation and struggle to meet the future needs of our nation,” Emmer continued.

“The evidence is overwhelming; this program helps children learn crucial skills, while also building meaningful relationships between our U.S. Military service members and civilians. The lifelong impact of this program is unparalleled, and its funding should be a top priority for Congress,” Emmer concluded.  


STARBASE was initially funded by Congress in 1993 and has since served more than 1,400,000 students from 33 states and territories. This program, which is run by the Department of Defense, serves as a STEM education and outreach program for elementary and middle school students. The program provides 25 hours of STEM education and after-school activities.

Strong evidence-based evaluations of program participants show significant improvement in student understanding, interest, and ability in math and science, which has led to increased enthusiasm in pursuing STEM education. In 2019, chemistry, engineering, math, physics, and technology knowledge scores increased on average by 26.6% for all students, while favorability scores for math and science showed clear improvement.  

Studies performed by Wilder Research on STARBASE Minnesota show that the program has potential long-term benefits, including an increase in both high school graduation rates and college enrollment. In addition, the program is one of the most cost-effective across the federal government, costing an average of $301 per student.

Read the letter here

Read more about STARBASE here.