Where the Federal Research Funds Flow

Hopkins retains first spot. New data show top recipients for black colleges (Hampton), Hispanic-serving institutions (Texas Health Sciences) and tribal colleges (United Tribes).
August 3, 2007

Johns Hopkins University held on to its position as the top recipient of federal science and engineering funds in 2005 and research universities that typically round out the top 10 continue to do so. The data -- released Thursday -- are part of an annual analysis by the National Science Foundation.

For the first time this year, the NSF provided data on the top minority-serving institutions receiving such support. Hampton University topped the list for historically black colleges, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio did so for institutions with large Hispanic enrollments, and United Tribes Technical College came in first among tribal colleges.

While Hopkins's top position isn't in doubt, due to the huge sums it receives for the Applied Physics Laboratory, the total figures are closely watched. For any institution that appears relatively high on this list, federal research spending in science is a significant portion of overall budgets, and makes a difference in graduate programs, facilities and prestige -- not to mention the ability to do significant science.

Top 20 Universities in Federal Science and Engineering Obligations, Fiscal 2005

University Total
1. Johns Hopkins University $1,233,900,000
2. University of Washington $663,300,000
3. University of Pennsylvania $558,200,000
4. University of California at Los Angeles $525,500,000
5. University of Michigan $513,100,000
6. Stanford University $485,600,000
7. University of Wisconsin at Madison $476,900,000
8. University of California at San Francisco $473,500,000
9. Duke University $459,200,000
10. Columbia University $447,200,000
11. Harvard University $441,300,000
12. University of California at San Diego $428,300,000
13. Washington University in St. Louis $428,100,000
14. University of Pittsburgh $427,100,000
15. Yale University $384,400,000
16. University of Colorado $367,600,000
17. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill $363,100,000
18. University of Minnesota $362,100,000
19. Cornell University $360,500,000
20. Massachusetts Institute of Technology $359,800,000

There was relatively little change in the top 20 institutions this year -- the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill joined the group, moving to the 17th spot from 21st the year before. Pennsylvania State University fell out of the top 20, going to the 22nd spot after previously being in the 19th position.

While a total of 1,227 institutions received some support for science and engineering in fiscal 2005, the funds are highly concentrated. About 34 percent of the total funds went to those in the top 20.

The data released by the NSF on support for minority-oriented institutions makes clear what a small share of the total they receive. The total for all black colleges combined -- $479,000,000 -- is less than the total for Stanford at No. 6 on the list. The total for all institutions in the category of having significant Latino enrollments is $463,000,000, which would be just above the total for No. 9 Duke.

Lezli Baskerville, president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, noted the disproportionate number of black Ph.D.'s, engineers and medical school applicants educated at historically black colleges. Yet, she noted, black colleges are receiving "disproportionately fewer federal dollars." Baskerville said the "pattern must be reversed," and that each year the pattern continues adds to the "barrier to HBCU's remaining comparable and competitive with their white counterparts."

Jamie P. Merisotis, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, which works with black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, and tribal colleges, said he was also struck by the gaps noted by Baskerville.

Merisotis acknowledged that many minority institutions are focused on teaching, rather than research, and that many of those focused on research may not have the same facilities or budgets as the institutions landing more and larger grants. But Merisotis said that raises an important question: "How did Michigan become Michigan and Stanford become Stanford, and the answer is that the federal government had an enormous impact on that." If the federal government transformed many institutions into the research giants they are today -- in an era when institutions serving minority students were largely ignored -- is that fair, he asked?

As for the new data, Merisotis said that the best thing about it may be that minority institutions now have "a baseline that shows where we can go," and he praised the NSF for doing the separate analysis of these colleges and universities.

Following are tables for minority-serving institutions:

Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Federal Science and Engineering Obligations, Fiscal 2005

Institution Total
1. Hampton University $44,072,000
2. Howard University $32,200,000
3. Meharry Medical College $30,701,000
4. Morehouse School of Medicine $28,724,000
5. Florida A&M University $23,229,000
6. Jackson State University $22,140,000
7. North Carolina A&T University $21,363,000
8. Tuskegee University $20,502,000
9. Tennessee State University $16,865,000
10. Morgan State University $12,838,000

Top Institutions With Large Hispanic Enrollments in Federal Science and Engineering Obligations, Fiscal 2005

Institution Total
1. University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio $88,801,000
2. New Mexico State University $59,439,000
3. Florida International University $41,327,000
4. University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus $34,298,000
5. University of Texas at El Paso $31,906,000
6. University of New Mexico $23,511,000
7. University of Puerto Rico Piedras Campus $21,981,000
8. City College of the City University of New York $21,405,000
9. University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus $21,035,000
10. University of Texas at San Antonio $16,526,000

Top Tribal Colleges in Federal Science and Engineering Obligations, Fiscal 2005

Institution Total
1. United Tribes Technical College $5,134,000
2. Salish Kootenai College $4,471,000
3. Northwest Indian College $2,367,000
4. Institute of American Indian Arts $2,327,000
5. Oglala Lakota College $2,286,000
6. Fort Belknap College $2,204,000
7. Blackfeet Community College $1,849,000
8. Turtle Mountain Community College $1,685,000
9. Fort Peck Community College $1,340,000
10. Chief Dull Knife College $1,281,000


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