50-50 Highlights: Top Research Universities and Colleges Ranked by Research Expenditures

student in research labAfter the Ivy League schools and their competition as ranked by US News, the next level of desirable institutions of higher education tends to be top research universities, usually state flagship institutions. While there are many different reasons why high school students want to go to research universities, for a certain group of students, the reason is the access to and influence of research.

Now for many, the belief in the superiority of opportunities at a research university is one that has little chance of being swayed by arguments to the contrary. And the fact is that top research universities can provide an excellent undergraduate education for students.

For those who are looking for affirmation for their preference for “top research universities,” check out the following:

  • The University of Texas at Austin and the Research University Advantage: This study concludes that “In this analysis, research engagement has a positive relationship with GPA, four-year graduation rate, and is strong predictor of post-graduate educational plans.” (The authors use a broad definition of research in the paper since by they report only an average of 2.5% of students participate in non-class based research.)
  • UC Davis Student Affairs Research & Information How Students Answered the question, How Has Attending a Major Research University Affected Your Education: Of these five resources, I found this one the most useful.?  The overall findings were positive but approximately 25% of students responded negatively. The paper openly acknowledges some of the trade-offs of attending a research university. For example, students believe that “Research universities like Davis provide unique opportunities to participate in research and to acquire practical skills through on-campus employment and internships, but these opportunities can be hard to find and are less common in some majors.”
  • National Survey of Student Engagement: Institutions classified as Research University-Very High had the second highest percentage of seniors who actually worked on a research project outside of a course or program requirement.
  • Baccalaureate Origins of S&E Doctorate Recipients: Many students are interested in attending top research universities and doing research in preparation for graduation school. According to this study “Of those with known U.S. baccalaureate institutions, almost half (47%) earned their bachelor’s degree from research universities.”

So for those with a preference for research universities, I offer the following information on “research stats” for 50-50 Colleges and Universities. The research expenditures are from IPEDS data in the DIY College Search Spreadsheet and are defined as funds that?  are” expenses for activities specifically organized to produce research outcomes and commissioned by an agency either external to the institution or separately budgeted by an organizational unit within the institution. The category includes institutes and research centers, and individual and project research.”

Unfunded research, research that faculty conduct on their own simply as part of their faculty position, is not accounted for by these numbers. In other words, just because an institution doesn’t show any research expenses doesn’t mean that faculty aren’t conducting research.

The following is a listing of all 50-50 institutions with Carnegie Classifications of Research University-Very High or High. As usual, the five-year graduation rate is used for public schools and the four-year rate for private schools. You can download a complete list of 50-50 schools here.

 

50-50 Research Universities with High or Very High Research Activity

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