December 22, 2014

Ms. Jennifer Jessup
Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer
Department of Commerce, Room 6616
14th and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20230

Comments on the American Community Survey Question No. 12

Dear Ms. Jessup,

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on the proposed changes to the American Community Survey. We are especially concerned with the recommended elimination of question number 12, relating to a person's undergraduate field of study, and urge the retention of this question.

The AIBS is a nonprofit scientific association dedicated to advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society. AIBS works to ensure that the public, legislators, funders, and the community of biologists have access to and use information that will guide them in making informed decisions about matters that require biological knowledge. Founded in 1947 as a part of the National Academy of Sciences, AIBS became an independent, member governed organization in the 1950s. Today, AIBS has more than 140 member scientific organizations and institutions.

The information collected in question number 12 is essential for understanding the scientific and technical workforce of the United States. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is reliant upon this data to prepare its Science and Engineering Indicators report, as well as other analyses that inform policymakers about trends in the labor market. Moreover, the inclusion of this question in the American Community Survey is a cost effect means of collecting this information. NSF would spend considerably more money to conduct a stand-alone survey to obtain this data.

Please retain the question on undergraduate field of study in the American Community Survey.

Sincerely,

Richard O'Grady, Ph.D.
Executive Director

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