National Endowment For Arts And Humanities Gives Millions To Universities

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Universities receive hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of dollars to fund arts and humanities programs, according to figures obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Colleges and universities received a total of nearly $45 million in grants from the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities (NFAH) in 2016, as revealed in an investigation conducted by Open the Books, an organization devoted to revealing spending across America.

More than half of the funding, $23 million, went to 20 colleges and colleges with endowments or assets totaling over $1 billion.

Harvard University, which has a $36 billion endowment, obtained $2.3 million in NFAH grants and used the funding for projects like “Digital Giza: A New Portal to Pyramids,” where $100,000 was spent to render in 3D the Khafre Pyramid Complex. The university also used funding for  “What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement?” which aims to boost civil rights curricula in American history classes.

South Dakota State University (SDSU) received $11,987 for the maintenance of Historic Hobo Day, a day of homecoming festivities at the school during which students dress as hobos, drive a “Bummobile,” and play a football game. The university used the grant “to collect and digitize community-held Hobo Day artifacts.”

“The project not only created a new public body of research that explores the changing culture over the last century, but it also connected community members as they attended events related to this project and lent their own items to be digitized for this collection,” Matt Schmidt, senior news editor at SDSU, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The University of Southern California used $880,000 in NFAH funds, $350,000 of which was used to create a video game simulating a part of philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s life. Another $100,000 funded “Chrono Cards,” a “prototype development of two complementary card games and an educational website to engage middle school students in learning about the roots of the American Revolution.”

“Although the majority of [the Thoreau project] has been self-funded, the grants we have received allowed us to enrich the learning potential of the game and to bring it to a much wider audience of Americans, including students, teachers and life-long learners,” said Tracy Fullerton, professor and director of USC’s Games program, to TheDCNF.

TheDCNF reached out to Harvard University for comment, but received none in time for publication.

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