Special Report

Universities Getting the Most Money from the Federal Government

Source: Thinkstock

20. Yale University
> Total federal funds: $480.2 million
> Annual R&D expenditure: $803.0 million
> 2015 enrollment: 12,385
> 2016 endowment: $25.4 billion

The federal government transferred $480.2 million in grant and contract money to Yale University in 2015, a larger sum than all but a handful of universities. While $3.0 million of the federal government’s obligations to Yale were in the form of Pell Grants to undergraduates, the remaining $477.1 million were grants and contracts for research and development. Yale dedicated an estimated 83% of its R&D expenditures to life sciences, a bulk of which went to medical research at the Yale School of Medicine. Yale has a history of significant accomplishments in medical research, including the identification of Lyme disease and the creation of the first insulin pump.

Source: Thinkstock

19. Ohio State University
> Total federal funds: $488.0 million
> Annual R&D expenditure: $817.9 million
> 2015 enrollment: 58,663
> 2016 endowment: $3.6 billion

With total enrollment approaching 60,000 students, Ohio State University is one of the largest universities in the country. It is also one of the largest recipients of federal dollars. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the university’s largest source of federal funding. Ohio State spent $817.9 million on R&D in 2015, $446.0 million of which came from the federal government. About $337 million of the university’s R&D spending, or just over 40%, went to medical research. The federal government also disbursed approximately $41.9 million in Pell Grants — need-based financial aid for undergraduates — to OSU students last year.

Source: Thinkstock

18. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
> Total federal funds: $491.4 million
> Annual R&D expenditure: $930.7 million
> 2015 enrollment: 11,331
> 2016 endowment: $13.2 billion

MIT is one of the world’s premier research institutions, and the money the U.S. government grants the university each year suggests as much. The school spent $930.7 million on R&D in 2015, more than half of which was provided by the federal government. R&D funds at MIT appears to be well-spent. While a dozen research universities outspent MIT in 2015, only the combined 10 campuses of the University of California system had more patents than MIT’s 278 that year. While many schools that get the most money from the federal government devote a large share to medical research, the lion’s share of R&D spending at MIT — 44.7% — is dedicated to the school’s engineering program.

Source: Thinkstock

17. University of Minnesota
> Total federal funds: $505.3 million
> Annual R&D expenditure: $880.6 million
> 2015 enrollment: 50,678
> 2016 endowment: $3.3 billion

One of the largest schools in the country, the University of Minnesota had a total of 50,678 graduates and undergraduates enrolled in the Fall of 2015. While the federal government transferred $476 million in research grants to Minnesota in 2015, the school receives relatively little funding per student. Federal funding for R&D at the school amounts to just $9,393 per student, one of the smaller such figures of any major university. The university’s internal funding sources, which include tuition and donations, account for 31.1% of school R&D spending, a larger share than the 24.3% average for all colleges and universities.

16. University of California, Los Angeles
> Total federal funds: $535.3 million
> Annual R&D expenditure: $1.0 billion
> 2015 enrollment: 41,908
> 2016 endowment: $1.8 billion

The University of California system is one of the strongest research bodies in the country. The university system was granted 489 patents in 2015, the most of any academic body worldwide. University of California, Los Angeles, the largest of UC’s 10 campuses, received $535.3 million in federal grant money in 2015. Roughly 69% of federal funding for UCLA R&D programs comes from the Department of Health & Human Services, which includes the National Institutes of Health.

Since 2011, the NIH has committed more than $150 million to the founding and continued support of UCLA’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, a partnership with other medical centers and research institutes to enhance biomedical research.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.