higher ed

Federal science & engineering support to universities declines

At least 1,016 academic institutions across the U.S.  received federal support for a range of science and engineering functions in FY 2015, according to the latest survey from National Science Foundation. While the total was up slightly from the 1,003 institutions reported in the previous year, NSF also found that larger community divided a federal pie that was 3 percent or $900 million less than 2014, in constant dollars.  The FY 2015 total figure of $27,747 million was 6 percent less than the 2012 total of $29,580 million, also in constant dollars. 

Record number of doctoral degrees conferred in US in 2015, NSF

U.S. institutions of higher education awarded 55,006 research doctorate degrees in 2015 according to the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). This figure represents the highest number ever reported. The report also highlights several other multi-year trends.

Pew finds Republicans increasingly negative on higher ed

new survey released by the Pew Research Center reveals a much more negative view of the  impact of colleges and universities on America on the right, with a majority (58 percent) of the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents surveyed saying that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country compared to 45 percent last August. Democrats and Democratic leaning independents (72 percent) say the colleges and universities have a positive effect. The differences between the parties extend to other areas covered in the survey, including the national news media and religious organizations, but overall opinion has remained about the same.

$35.6 billion invested globally in university spinouts between 2013-2016

Over the past four years, 1,668 deals involving university spinout companies from across the globe attracted approximately $35.6 billion from 2013 to 2016, according to a new report from Global University Venturing. The report, however, highlights that global deals peaked in 2014 with 529 deals and total investments dollars peaked in 2015 with nearly $14 billion invested. As the authors highlighted, these global numbers were unsustainable and 2016 saw significant declines in both deals and dollars. In 2016, the total deals reported were 407 (21.6 percent decrease from 2015) and dollars invested was $6.4 billion (a 54.3 percent decrease from 2015).

MI’s research corridor spurs state economy

Michigan’s University Research Corridor, an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, conducted $1.2 billion in academic R&D in the life, medical and health sciences, and served as a stabilizing force to the state’s economy as one of the only sectors that grew during the 2000s. Those are among the findings of the 2017 URC sector report, which was prepared by Public Sector Consultants. The report, Leading Discovery: URC Contributions to the Life, Medical and Health Sciences, notes that employment in the life, medical and health sciences sector, which accounts for one in eight jobs in Michigan, is up 18.9 percent since 2000, compared to overall Michigan employment, which is down 9.3 percent.

Tennessee reconnects with adult students, aims to boost workforce

Adults in Tennessee seeking to return to the classroom will have a new option for free tuition at community colleges, part of an expansion of the Tennessee Promise scholarship program. The newly passed and expanded Tennessee Reconnect legislation extends eligibility for free tuition to persons who have been out of school for longer periods of time or who may have never attended college. It is part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” focus, where he hopes to increase the percentage of the state’s adults equipped with a college degree or certificate to 55 percent; it is currently closer to 30 percent in Tennessee.

NY launches tuition-free college education for New Yorkers

On April 8, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Excelsior Scholarship program will be included in the state’s FY 2018 budget, after having been approved by the legislature. In its first year, the state will commit $163 million to provide tuition-free options for New Yorkers from ‘middle-class’ families at the state’s public institutions of higher education. Under the Excelsior Scholarship program, students can attend any of the colleges or universities that comprise the State University of New York and the City University of New York systems. After completing their degree, the scholarship requires that recipients must work or live in the state after graduation for the same number of years that they receive support. Cuomo contends that over 75 percent of the state’s 940,000 families with college-aged children would qualify for the program.

State grants, partnerships focus on workforce needs in several states

Noting a growing need for additional education to meet workforce needs, several states have announced programs focusing on education and workforce needs, channeling state funding to grants that will focus on aligning learning opportunities with business and industry needs, or creating new initiatives in the private sector. Reaching a higher educational attainment among a greater percentage of the workforce by 2025 is also a goal set by several of the states.

Universities announce investment funds for local startups

While many universities maintain startup investment funds targeted at growing university-affiliated startups, several universities are looking beyond their walls for investment opportunities that will create a return on investment (ROI), but also support economic prosperity. Through these investment funds, universities are able to make strategic investment in startups that will contribute to the future growth of their community, region and state. Massachusetts provides a recent example where MIT will invest $25 million in local startups.

University research space growth slows, NSF finds

Research-performing institutions of higher education increased their science and engineering (S&E) research space by only 1.4 percent from FY 2013 to FY 2015, according to the biennial  Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities, the lowest two-year percentage increase since NSF started collecting the data in 1988.  In FY 2015, total research space reached 214.7 million net assignable square feet (NASF) – an increase of 2.9 milli

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