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Useful Stats: Higher Ed R&D by state and funding source, 2011-2020

March 31, 2022
By: Colin Edwards

Continuing a streak lasting at least 10 years, the federal government was again the top funder of Higher Education R&D (HERD) in 2020. However, new SSTI analysis shows that the federal share of HERD funding has continued to decline nationally and in most states over the 10-year period from 2011 to 2020. This edition of SSTI’s Useful Stats provides an analysis of HERD funders by state in 2020, and an examination of 10-year trends for the period from 2011 to 2020 in HERD funding by source. 

Nationally in 2020, the federal government accounted for the greatest share (53.5 percent) of total HERD expenditures. Although the federal government was the top source for HERD spending in most states, the interactive graphic below shows that there was a lot of variation among the states. The states where the federal government accounted for the greatest shares of total HERD spending in 2020 were Maryland (78.7 percent), Colorado (71.2 percent), Puerto Rico (68.1 percent), Oregon (68.1 percent), and Rhode Island (67.0 percent). There were also three states where the federal government did not account for the greatest share of HERD expenditures in 2020. The states include Oklahoma (40.3 percent), Nevada (37.1 percent), and North Dakota (28.3 percent). 

The second greatest source for HERD spending nationally in 2020 was institution funds which accounted for 25.4 percent of the total in 2020. However, the interactive chart below shows that there was again considerable variation among the states. The states where institution funds accounted for the greatest shares of total state HERD expenditures in 2020 were Nevada (51.3 percent), Oklahoma (40.3 percent), North Dakota (39.3 percent), Iowa (39.3 percent), and New Hampshire (38.9 percent).  

The interactive image below also shows that the remaining categories represented relatively little of total HERD spending at the national level and in most states in 2020. A few standouts include several states where state and local governments accounted for a relatively greater share of HERD spending, such as North Dakota (24.2 percent), Idaho (23.5 percent), Mississippi (22.2 percent), and Arkansas (19.3 percent).  

The chart also shows that business HERD spending was 4.9 percent of the total in 2011 and increased to 6.0 percent by 2020. The states with the greatest shares of business HERD spending in 2020 were Kansas (15.0 percent), Louisiana (12.4 percent), North Carolina (9.7 percent), Ohio (8.6 percent), and Missouri (8.2 percent). 

Hover over elements of the charts to reveal additional details. 

Despite the federal government’s history of contributing the greatest share to HERD spending, that share has consistently diminished over the 10-year period from 2011 to 2020. As seen in the interactive chart below, the federal government’s national share of HERD funding was 63 percent in 2011 and dropped to 53 percent by 2020. Institutional funds, on the other hand, have continually increased in the share of total HERD spending at the national level and in many states over this period, accounting for 19 percent in 2011 and growing to 25 percent in 2020. However, scrolling through the interactive charts below shows that there was once again considerable variation in this trend among the states. For example, Alaska and Rhode Island experienced increases in the share of federal HERD support over the period. Additionally, Maine experienced more ups and downs in the annual shares of federal support for HERD from 2011 to 2020 than most states, while the federal share of HERD spending in Maryland only varied between 77 and 79 percent over the period. 

Click here for the data used in this analysis. 

useful stats, higher ed, r&d