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APLU Statement on President Obama’s State of the Union Address

January 28, 2014-–APLU President Peter McPherson tonight released the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“President Obama yet again delivered a forceful argument for greater levels of research in order to create revolutionary new technologies that grow and expand businesses, generate jobs, and strengthen our economy. And in highlighting new hubs for high tech manufacturing in North Carolina and Ohio he illustrated the direct link between the work of research universities and the growth and success of U.S. businesses. Public universities have long played the central role of developing the key scientific breakthroughs that fuel innovation and power our country’s economy forward, but that role has been jeopardized due to budget cuts. The recent budget deal was an important step toward restoring investments in research and closing the innovation deficit, but much more needs to be done, especially as nations such as China, India, and Singapore dramatically boost their efforts.

“The focus on increasing jobs by remaining the global innovation leader underscores the need to ensure we have a robust STEM education system. That effort must include quality teacher preparation so that all students learn from teachers who are well-prepared to provide them with the world-class science and mathematics education they need to pursue careers.

“Public universities are also united behind the president’s effort to expand higher education opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged students. This is part of our institutions’ core mission and critical to providing lifelong opportunities to as many Americans as possible. Our universities have been working on an array of initiatives to increase access and are committed to doing even more.

“The president in his speech made clear the importance of higher education in the country. We support the core presidential goals of strengthening transparency and accountability among higher education institutions. Last week, APLU proposed a plan that responds to these important goals.

“Finally, we appreciate the President Obama’s statement of support for immigration reform. We too support the DREAM Act and reform of the visa system that has been economically self-defeating by forcing international students to leave the country after they graduate. APLU proudly championed the cause of comprehensive immigration reform, including passage of the DREAM Act and enhanced opportunities for international graduates of U.S. universities last year when the Senate took up and passed comprehensive immigration reform. We will continue to press the case as the House debates immigration reform in the months ahead.”


Representing 228 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and related organizations, APLU is the nation’s oldest higher education association with member institutions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico. Annually, member campuses enroll 4.3 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.1 million degrees/credentials, employ over 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct more than $40 billion in university-based research.

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