A report released April 7, 2016, from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences outlines three recommendations to ensure a stable future for America’s public research universities, focusing on the need for several public and private sectors to join in the effort.

The final recommendations from “The Lincoln Project” are contained in Public Research Universities: Recommitting to Lincoln’s Vision – An educational compact for the 21st Century. (It is available online at https://www.amacad.org/content.aspx?i=22174.) The project is named for President Abraham Lincoln in commemoration of his role in laying the groundwork for the United States’ public university system when he signed the Morrill Act of 1862.

West University University President Gordon Gee, an ardent supporter of public research and land-grant universities, is a member of the Lincoln Project’s advisory panel.

“All public universities are facing a difficult road ahead as state and federal budgets are pinched from many directions,” Gee said. “While arguments can be made about whether education is an appropriate target for Draconian budget cuts, the fact remains that it is happening, and as responsible leaders, we must find new ways to keep Mr. Lincoln’s vision intact.

“I have often said that the Morrill Act, and the land-grant system it produced, is one of, if not the most important piece of legislation in the nation’s history. It expanded the promise of public education to higher education, extending opportunity beyond the wealthy and well connected. In the midst of the Civil War, Lincoln – the son of illiterate parents from the country’s vast frontier – recognized that the story of human progress is inextricably bound to education.”

The report’s three recommendations are:

• Address current financial challenges through renewed state support and new cost efficiencies and additional revenue streams at public research universities.
• Create public-private partnerships to sustain and strengthen research and education for the future.
• Improve student access and performance by simplifying financial aid, tracking student performance and improving transfer pathways.



CONTACT: University Relations

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