Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities

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In the 2012 edition of Science and Engineering Indicators (Indicators), the National Science Board (Board) reported a substantial decline over the last decade in per student state appropriations at the Nation’s major public research universities. This policy companion report to Indicators 2012, Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities, highlights the importance of these universities to the local and national economies, rising public expectations for these institutions, and the challenges posed by recent trends in enrollment, revenue, and expenditures.

In the wake of increasing enrollment and costs and declining per student state appropriations, the Board is concerned with the continued ability of public research universities to provide affordable, quality education and training to a broad range of students, conduct the basic science and engineering research that leads to innovations, and perform their public service missions. In future editions of Indicators, the Board intends to expand the treatment of higher education institutions while providing greater depth of analysis specific to public research universities.

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