higher ed

Institutions with limited federal funding have new access to R&D programs

Despite Carnegie Classification as an R2 institution, Northern Illinois University (NIU) and other similar universities do not qualify for existing R&D capacity-building initiatives targeting Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) states or minority-serving institutions (MSIs). In a recent article, Northern Illinois University administrators defended the necessity for a new designation for federal agencies to use to prioritize R&D funding for institutions such as NIU.

Indiana passes new legislation impacting college affordability and military tax exemptions

The Indiana General Assembly recently passed three bills that have the potential to impact the workforce in the state. Two bills address college affordability while the third exempts active-duty military from paying individual state income tax. House Bill 1449 will automatically enroll eligible students in a state program that offers 100% tuition coverage at public colleges, and Senate Bill 167 mandates high school students to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to increase students applying for financial aid. Meanwhile, House Bill 1034, now signed into law, exempts active-duty military from paying individual income taxes starting with fiscal year 2024.

Students pursue greater number of funding sources for higher ed

A recent study published in the Journal of Higher Education reveals that a college graduate’s mix of funding sources may reflect when they were born and how likely they were to obtain a graduate degree. A look at three cohorts of college graduates, those born in 1953-1962, 1963-1972, and 1973-1982 showed that the proportion of students who utilized one or two sources to fund their education decreased, while those who used three or more increased. Additionally, those in the most recent cohort who used more sources were found to be less likely to obtain a graduate degree compared to those who were fully funded by their families.

The value of higher education: examining shifting perceptions including new polling from Michigan

What is the value of a college degree today? While tuition costs continue to rise, opinions on the perceived value of the degrees institutions of higher education provide are falling. This sentiment, as highlighted in recent reports from New America and Gallup, demonstrates the need to re-examine the role of postsecondary education in shaping successful career pathways and the challenges individuals face while navigating an ever-evolving labor market.

Useful Stats: 10-year analysis of NSF EPSCoR state HERD, FY 2012-2021

The objective of the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is to help states receiving the least amount of federal research and development (R&D) funds within their postsecondary institutions improve their competitiveness for federal grants and awards. A measure of EPSCoR's effectiveness, then, is whether or not the state's academic research enterprise is capturing a larger share of federal R&D expenditures. This article utilizes data from the Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey, analyzing the total and federal HERD dollars for the 25 current EPSCoR eligible states compared to those not eligible, finding: 1) EPSCoR states are not receiving proportionately more federal HERD dollars and 2) EPSCoR states have an extremely large variation of total HERD dollars between states, inclusive of both the highest grossing states as well as all three states experiencing a decrease.

Useful Stats: State-level higher education R&D trends

Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 saw higher education research and development (R&D) spending increase by a total of $3.43 billion (3.97%) over the prior year — a higher rate of growth than the 10-year average of +3.53% per year — and $23.99 billion (36.51%) over the past 10-years. Using data from the most recent release of the Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey, this article will analyze state-level trends on higher education R&D expenditures, revealing the aforementioned increased expenditures, although strong, are barely keeping pace with the nation’s overall economic growth.

NSF announces new $60 million program for academic institutions to scale the translation of research

The U.S. National Science Foundation announced a new $60 million investment led by NSF's Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships — the Accelerating Research Translation, or ART, program. The program will build capacity and infrastructure at higher education institutions that are needed to strengthen and scale the translation of basic research outcomes into impactful solutions and practice.

Higher ed freshman enrollment increases but total enrollment still down

Although freshman enrollment in higher education increased 4.3% in fall 2022 compared to the previous year, total enrollment declined by 0.6% and still remains below pre-pandemic levels. Total enrollment of both undergraduate and graduate levels is down about 1.11 million students (5.8%) compared to fall 2019. Freshman enrollment in community colleges, which had taken a greater hit during the pandemic, is up 6.1% over fall 2019. The new data on enrollment was released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Breakdown of federally financed higher-ed R&D for FY 2021

A previous Digest article gave a broad overview of the most recent survey of Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) for FY 2021 (the most recent data available), including a breakdown of what field of studies receive the most R&D funding. The survey showed that the federal government funds the bulk of higher-ed R&D, and looking at each of its agencies can shed light on investment priorities. Within the federal government, Health and Human Services (HHS) funded the most higher-ed R&D activities by far (approximately $27.5 billion), followed by the Department of Defense (DoD; $7.4 billion) and National Science Foundation (NSF; $5.4 billion). A bulk of HHS funding went toward the life sciences ($24.2 billion), with engineering following behind at approximately $1 billion. DoD primarily funded engineering ($3.7 billion), followed by life sciences ($1.4 billion).

Federal higher-ed R&D funding jumps over $3 billion for the first time since 2011

New fiscal year (FY) 2021 Higher Education Research & Development (HERD) survey data released by the National Science Foundation (NSF) reveals a $3.4 billion (4%) increase in research and development (R&D) spending by institutions of higher education ($86.5 to $89.9 billion), driven almost entirely by a decades high federal government R&D funding increase of $3 billion.


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