No Federal Programs Are Designed Primarily To Support Engineering Education, but Many Do

PAD-82-20: Published: May 14, 1982. Publicly Released: May 14, 1982.

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Congressional concern was expressed about the possible shortages of engineers and problems in the engineering schools. GAO was asked to: (1) identify and describe Federal programs that support engineering education; (2) show how Federal support may change between fiscal years 1980 and 1982; and (3) relate Federal support to current concerns about engineering education.

GAO found that engineering education in 1980 was supported by 38 programs in 11 civilian agencies, although none primarily intended to advance engineering education. Instead, they provided assistance while furthering two other broad objectives: (1) support for education in general or science in particular; and (2) advancement of agency scientific and technical missions. GAO found that most Federal support related to the current concern about the supply of engineers rather than to the concern about the condition of the engineering schools. This disparity was due primarily to Student Financial Assistance providing nearly four-fifths of all agency-specific funding. In fiscal year 1982, it is unlikely that the general character of Federal support for engineering education will change significantly. However, the funding levels of individual programs may be substantially altered.

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