Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement regarding President Obama’s State of the Union.
“In his final State of the Union, President Obama last night had four ‘big questions’ for our future, spanning economic opportunity, technological advances, national security and democratic ideals. Public higher education plays an important role in responding to all of these questions—from increasing college access and opportunity, to the cutting-edge research conducted on our campuses which provides solutions to our many challenges, to fostering diversity and open exchanges of ideas, public universities’ work reflect the goals for our nation’s future.
“The president specifically mentioned increasing the number of degrees, something APLU is working on with other associations and our member universities through Project Degree Completion – a joint effort between APLU and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in which nearly 500 public colleges and universities have pledged to collectively award 3.8 million more degrees by 2025.
“The President underlined his support for NIH research with a special focus on cancer and he also discussed clean energy research. APLU is very supportive of these ideas and knows that the cutting- edge research taking place at our universities is integral to achieving the goals.
“It is clear we need to reinvest in public universities. There is simply no issue more directly correlated to higher education access and affordability for the vast majority of students and families than the steep decline in state support for public higher education. The federal government should incentivize states to renew their commitments to public higher education, which would help curb student debt and increase access for all students. We look forward to working with the administration and Congress on these issues throughout the year.”
More information on declining state investment in public universities can be found here.