Research Spending Of American Colleges

Colleges strive to provide students with the latest, most innovative technology and services, funded through research and development spending.

            Universities’ research and development spending increased 5.8 percent in 2008, according to the latest National Science Foundation survey, cited by an article in The Washington Post. The private college industry chipped in a relatively small but growing portion of the 5.8 percent.

            This has been a continuous trend.  Research and development spending rose 12 percent, hitting the $3.2 billion mark from 2008-2009. However, since 2005, the federal share of research and development spending has fallen from 64 percent to 59 percent, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. 

            "The increase in industry's financing relative to the federal government's continued a multiyear trend that has alarmed some academic scientists and public-policy scholars. They worry that the corporate money will inevitably spur academic scientists to skew their findings to suit their sponsors' commercial interests," the Chronicle reports.

            Johns Hopkins University still leads all other universities with the most research and development spending at $1.9 billion for its large Applied Physics Laboratory and science and engineering programs.

            Some of these figures can be slightly misleading, argues The Washington Post. Some universities report their spending by campus and others such as the University of Michigan and the University of Colorado report as a unit.

            Research and development spending can significantly enhance education, offering students cutting edge technologies for their own lab and research projects. However, students may have to support the large funding with higher tuition costs at major research and development colleges.

The top five universities by research and development spending, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education:

1. Johns Hopkins U., $1.6 billion
2. U. of Michigan (all campuses), $636 million
3. U. of Washington (all campuses), $619 million
4. MIT, $533 million
5. U. of California, San Diego, $511 million