National Defense Education Act

National Defense Education Act/tiles/non-collection/l/lfp_006imgtile1.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration


The National Defense Education Act (NDEA) was passed in 1958 in response to Soviet acceleration of the space race with the launch of the satellite Sputnik. The law provided federal funding to “insure trained manpower of sufficient quality and quantity to meet the national defense needs of the United States.” In addition to fellowships and loans to students, the legislation bolstered education in the areas of science, mathematics, and modern foreign languages. The House report recommending passage of the bill stated: “It is no exaggeration to say that America’s progress in many fields of endeavor in the years ahead—in fact, the very survival of our free country—may depend in large part upon the education we provide for our young people now.” The NDEA authorized the appropriation of more than $1 billion over the next seven years to achieve its goals, making it the first example of comprehensive federal education legislation, and signaling the expansion of the role of the federal government in the education of citizens. Graham Arthur Barden, Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, submitted the conference report in the House. This version shows the conference report with typesetting marks, indicating how the printed version of the report should appear.

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