Congress Gives Colleges a Billion-Dollar Bonanza

Emboldened by budget surplus, lawmakers' earmarks for specific institutions soar by 31%

Pork-barrel spending on academe blew past the billion-dollar mark for the first time ever this year, as a swelling budget surplus emboldened Congress to earmark a record amount of money for projects involving specific colleges.

For the 2000 fiscal year, Congress directed federal agencies to award