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Higher Education: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Trends and the Role of Federal Programs

GAO-06-702T Published: May 03, 2006. Publicly Released: May 03, 2006.
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The United States is a world leader in scientific and technological innovation. To help maintain this advantage, the federal government has spent billions of dollars on education programs in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields for many years. However, concerns have been raised about the nation's ability to maintain its global technological competitive advantage in the future. This testimony is based on our October 2005 report and presents information on (1) trends in degree attainment in STEM- and non-STEM-related fields and factors that may influence these trends, (2) trends in the levels of employment in STEM- and non-STEM- related fields and factors that may influence these trends, and (3) federal education programs intended to support the study of and employment in STEM-related fields. For this report, we analyzed survey responses from 13 civilian federal departments and agencies; analyzed data from the Departments of Education and Labor; interviewed educators, federal agency officials, and representatives from education associations and organizations; and interviewed students.

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College studentsEducation program evaluationEmploymentEngineeringHigher educationLife sciencesMathematicsPhysical sciencesStatistical dataStrategic planningTechnological innovationsTechnologyEducation programs