Report Documents Success of Small Private Colleges in STEM

March 17, 2014

A report being released today by the Council of Independent Colleges, "Strengthening the STEM Pipeline: The Contributions of Small and Mid-Sized Independent Colleges," argues that such colleges make a disproportionate contribution to efforts to build up the American work force in science and technology. The report notes that many people assume research universities are the key sector for promoting STEM education. But on a per capita basis, the report argues, small private colleges deserve more support for STEM education.

For example, the report says that between 2006 and 2010, 25 graduates of Allegheny College (total undergraduate enrollment of 1,849) went on to earn doctorates in chemistry. During the same period, 30 graduates of the University of Pittsburgh (17,413 undergraduate enrollment) and 25 graduates of Carnegie Mellon University (5,484 undergraduate enrollment) earned doctorates in chemistry.

The report gave another example, this one for the biological sciences. The CIC study noted that one of every four graduates in biological sciences from Swarthmore College, Haverford College, Grinnell College and Oberlin College went on to complete a Ph.D., a rate higher than flagship public universities in their states: Pennsylvania State University (16 percent), the University of Iowa (13 percent), Iowa State University (10 percent), and Ohio State University (8 percent).

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