11月 252014
 

2012年にNational Science Board (NSB)がまとめたレポート“Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities”がある.

このレポートでアメリカのNational Science Foundation (NSF) – National Science Board (NSB)は,公立研究大学において,長期的に財務状態が劣化していくことと,すべての学生に妥当な費用で質の高い教育を提供できなくなることとに懸念を表明している.学生数の増加と州政府による財政支援の削減が続いており,このままでは,優秀な学生を惹き付け,次世代を担う科学者や技術者を養成し,私立大学と競争していくことは困難になると共に,授業料を引き上げ続けることになるだろうと警告している.さらに,アメリカが,科学・工学分野で優れた大学卒業生を増やし,今日の知識主導のグローバル経済で競争していくためには,大多数の理工系学生の教育に貢献している公立研究大学を強化し,妥当な費用で質の高い教育が提供されるように,継続的に取り組んでいかなければならないと指摘している.

さらに,このレポートでは,公立研究大学の収入減少と公立研究大学と私立研究大学との間の給料格差が公立研究大学における優秀な人材の流出と研究能力の低下を招いている点も指摘している.

また,連邦政府による学生ローンプログラムが拡大するなか,学部および大学院教育に意図しない影響を与えないように,プログラム内容のいかなる変更にも注意する必要があると指摘している.

このレポートの概要を読んで,日本の国公立大学の現状が,NSFがその衰退を懸念するアメリカ公立研究大学の姿に重なった見えた.

“Diminishing
Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities

本レポートの結論部分を引用しておく.

CONCLUSIONS

The Board is concerned with the long-term fiscal health of the Nation’s public research universities and their ability to maintain affordable, quality education for all students. These institutions have witnessed substantial growth in enrollment coupled with diminishing state funding per student over the course of the last decade. This trend, if it continues or if other sources of support are not identified, threatens their continued capacity to attract the best talent, to provide quality education and training for the next generation of scientists and engineers, and to compete with their private counterparts, and is likely to result in an ongoing increase in tuition and fees. An enduring commitment to strengthen these universities and maintain quality and afford- ability is imperative if our Nation is to increase the number of highly-skilled U.S. S&E graduates and compete in today’s knowledge-driven global economy.

In future editions of Science and Engineering Indicators−the Board’s biennial report on quantitative information about U.S. science, engineering, and technology−the Board intends to expand the treatment of higher education institutions while providing greater depth of analysis specific to public research universities. The 2014 edition of Indicators will include data on the major revenue and expenditure streams of public research universities and cost to students and families, providing consistent, policy-neutral information that policy-makers can use in considering whether these universities can meet local, state, and national demand for the type of skilled S&E workers and transformative research necessary to fuel economic growth and to address societal challenges.

The National Science Board offers the following observations:

  1. Increased enrollment and declining state support have occurred in all sectors of the public higher education system. Public research universities educate and train the majority of our Nation’s scientists and engineers. They are contributors to economic development at the local, state, and national levels and represent an essential component of the higher education landscape. A continued decline in state support will negatively impact the ability of these universities to provide quality education and training to a diverse student body and attract and retain the talent needed to maintain the scope and quality of their research efforts.
  2. Increased enrollment in higher education is projected to come mainly from traditionally underrepresented minority groups. While enrollment at public research universities has continued to increase, a greater share of students, particularly minorities, are attending public 2-year or private for-profit institutions. Public research universities provide opportunities for undergraduate research training and access to researchers in the classroom that are typically unavailable at these institutions. These opportunities can positively impact students majoring in S&E disciplines at a critical time in their academic career. Greater emphasis should be placed on recruiting underrepresented groups to public research universities and facilitating the transfer and continued success of S&E majors from community colleges. The PCAST report, Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, suggests pathways that provide authentic research experience for community college students and opportunities to develop relationships with faculty at 4-year institutions to ease the transition to these institutions.
  3. Reductions in revenue of public research universities and gaps in salary between public and private research universities have the potential to lead to an outflow of talent at public research universities and reduced research capacity. These could result in greater concentration of talent and R&D in fewer geo- graphical locations, and at fewer universities, with smaller and less diverse student bodies. This could have a substantial impact on economic and workforce development at the local, state, and national levels.
  4. The Federal subsidized loan program continues to evolve. Any proposed changes to the program should be carefully examined to avoid unintended consequences to undergraduate and graduate education.