University Finances:

Research Revenues and Expenditures

RCED-86-162BR: Published: Jul 11, 1986. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on how federal funding for research fits into the total finances of research universities.

GAO found that: (1) federal research support has increased, but at a slower rate than most other research revenue sources; (2) industrial support for research has more than doubled in constant dollars but still averages less than 6 percent of research and development revenue; (3) the remaining research revenue came from state appropriations, state and local government grants and contracts, federal appropriations, and other institutional funds; and (4) indirect costs as a percentage of each federal research dollar rose from 22 percent in 1975 to 26 percent in 1984. GAO also found that: (1) university revenue and expenditures have increased faster than the rate of inflation over the past 10 years; (2) tuition and fees rose 60 percent for private universities and 37 percent for public universities; (3) federal support to universities decreased as a percentage of their educational and general revenue; (4) revenue from federal and state sources decreased as proportions of total physical plant revenue over the period, while revenues from private and other institutional sources rose; and (5) while physical plant debt increased for private universities, it decreased for public universities.

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