The projected federal government spending for 2021 is $6.8 Trillion. This figure is higher than any budget in the history of the United States. Due to this, American colleges can secure more funding from the federal government than ever before. But only some colleges in America have been able to secure a significant increase in governmental awards. This article will highlight 30 American colleges. These are schools that have benefited significantly from new federal and state funding opportunities.
A range of funding in 2021 has specifically enabled colleges in the United States to gain increased revenues. In May, the Department of Education released $36 billion in funding to colleges and students through the American Rescue Plan Act. In July, the same department announced $3.2 Billion in emergency relief funds for students and historic/under-resourced institutions. By the end of 2021, further legislation that would provide a range of educational funding was nearing passage into law. This included $10 billion for colleges to improve their public transportation systems.
But the advantages colleges in the US can gain due to increased funding go further than money targeted explicitly toward education. For example, science research is also undergoing a significant investment. This ranking is considered a range of means by which colleges have gained funding via the government. Colleges do not just need to have used education-specific funding to have been included in this list. Instead, the colleges must show that the funding they have secured benefits their students, faculty, staff, and the wider community. Another important consideration for inclusion in this ranking based on future funding opportunities is whether the college is proactively attempting to increase funding. Colleges that can prove their ability to secure financial aid in the future have been given the highest rankings.
The 30 colleges in this ranking are strong choices for students who want to attend an institution that knows how to secure federal government funds successfully. But it’s also possible that none of the colleges are right for you. If this is the case, this ranking can still be a vital resource in your college search. Each entry summarized what funding the college is accessing from the federal government and how it is being implemented. These have been included to contrast and compare with your college options. If any college you’re considering is securing funding with similar levels of success as the 30 ahead, that indicates that it’s a strong college choice.
Research for the entries in this article consists of recent sources that highlight colleges that are benefiting from financial aid in the form of federal government funds. Aside from these current sources, we have also researched older sources that list the colleges that have secured high levels of government funds in the past. After identifying the colleges in both types of sources, we conducted further research to understand how they plan to increase funding and financial aid from the federal government in the future.
The final ranking has been sorted with the following criteria: Evidence of the college gaining a significant increase in funding, evidence of the college investing to increase its future funding, proof of the funding going into innovative programs, and aggregated ranking/number of mentions on the methodology sources.
Our ranking, from 30 to one, is here:
30. Diné College
One of the most impressive acts to result in 2021 funding from the federal government at Diné College comes from Assistant Professor Rhiannon Sorrell. Sorrell formed a partnership with Northern Arizona University to solicit financial aid. This partnership resulted in a $350,000 award from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize historical film material of the region. The college is also using its financial aid grants from previous years to build infrastructure that will boost future funding. For example, in June 2021, it began constructing the $7.4 million Math and Science Building. The Department of Education’s press release on the American Rescue Plan Act notes that Diné College had distributed over $600,000 in previous federal grant money to students.
29. Northern Virginia Community College
Northern Virginia Community College received financial aid through several federal grants in 2021. Still, the $1.3 million in funding for supporting Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students is the most impressive. This federal grant money came from the Department of Education, and the college was one of only 13 in the nation that was successful in qualifying. Another impressive federal grant the college recently secured is the amount of $466,000. These federal dollars are earmarked to create a center of excellence for veteran students. The college managed to receive $1.11 million from the Go Virginia Grant on the state level in July. This money will go into improving its information engineering technology education. The Department of Education press release on the American Rescue Plan Act highlights that Northern Virginia Community College used 25% of its previous pandemic funding to provide emergency grants to students.
28. California Institute of Technology
In July 2021, the California Institute of Technology announced that the National Science Foundation had selected it to create a $3 million center that will advance at-home healthcare technology in the field of health and human services. The college received this financial aid grant alongside alongside the University of Arizona, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Southern California. Later in 2021, the college stated that the Department of Education had awarded it $2.3 million in pandemic relief funding. In 2018, the California Institute of Technology received the single most significant federal contract of any American college.
27. Fisk University
On the federal government level, Fisk University successfully gained funding in 2021. For example, in October 2021, the college announced that it had acquired $750,000 from the Department of Education’s Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program. This financial aid award was to fund STEM through the Rocketry Electronics Engagement and Coding Program. On the state level, the college has seen similar levels of success. In June 2021, the college revealed that it was one of the recipients of a $38.8 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Health to address coronavirus health disparities in the fields of health and human services. The Department of Education also uses Fisk University’s distribution of emergency federal student aid to students as an example of how colleges can use American Rescue Plan Act funding effectively.
26. Alcorn State University
The 2021-2022 budget for Alcorn State University anticipates a $1.6 million increase in funding from the government. This brings its total federal government investment to $28 million. Since this budget was published, the college has successfully gained long-term financial aid from the federal government. In October, the college announced that it had been awarded $2.7 million by the Department of Education. This money will fund higher education programs that help students from disadvantaged backgrounds reach graduation. Alcorn State University had previously used coronavirus relief funding to provide virtual academic support options.
25. Oregon State University
In 2021, the Oregon State Legislature increased higher education funding for public universities until at least 2023. This benefited Oregon State University and several other colleges. In the fiscal year of 2021, the college gained $27 million in federal pandemic relief funding. The college’s government research funding also increased during this time. The 2021 fiscal year marked the 17th out of the last 19 years that research expenditures have increased. According to USA Facts, Oregon State University gained the fifth most significant federal grant investment of any college in 2018.
24. Foothill-De Anza Community College
Los Altos Hills, California
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act, Foothill-De Anza Community College gained $10.7 million in early 2021. The college is also benefiting from increased financial aid at the state level. For example, in 2021-2022, the California State Government is providing the college with $13.5 million to conduct capital projects. The Department of Education’s press release about the American Rescue Plan Act praises Foothill-De Anza Community College for using previous federal funds to establish mental wellness programming for higher education students.
23. Cornell University
Ithaca, New York
The American Rescue Plan Act awarded Cornell University $33 million. The college has also benefited from increased higher education funding not connected to pandemic relief. In January 2021, the Department of Agriculture gave the college $2 million. These funds were granted to research new solutions to water decontamination and foodborne illness risks. The college has continued to maintain robust funding from the federal government throughout 2021. In October 2021, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture granted the college $3 million to develop new cover crops for organic farmers. In 2017, Cornell University gained the 13th highest research and development funding in the US.
22. Alabama State University
In October 2021, Alabama State University announced that it had gained its single largest grant of all time. This financial aid award totaled $24.7 million. Over the next seven years, it will fund the creation and implementation of a program that increases the readiness of public school children for higher education and other educational opportunities. The American Rescue Plan Act also provided the college with $19 million from the federal government. Alabama State University used its previous coronavirus relief funding to buy personal protective equipment.
21. Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Before the pandemic, Michigan State University had invested its federal funds into operations to boost future funding opportunities. One example is the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. This facility was constructed with a $730 million financial aid award from the Department of Energy Office of Science. In September 2021, the college also announced that it would increase funding from the state government. This included a 3.8% rise in general operations funding. Earlier in 2021, Michigan State University also received $41 million from the federal government via the American Rescue Plan Act. These funds were earmarked to provide financial aid grants to students. In 2018, Michigan State University was the recipient of the third-largest higher education federal grant of any US college.
20. Miami Dade College
In late 2021, Miami Dade College announced that it had secured higher education funding from several government sources. For instance, the Department of Education gave the college $3 million via the Title V Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions Funding Award. Earlier in 2021, the college was able to gain $175 million in funding thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act. Approximately $88 million of this funding went directly to students. The Pew 2019 report on the funding of higher education institutions notes that Miami Dade College is one of the top three colleges for receiving Pell Grants through the federal Pell Grant program.
19. San Joaquin Delta College
San Joaquin Delta College was quick to reserve $6.2 million of higher education funding from the American Rescue Plan Act for students who needed the most financial aid. According to the college’s 2021-2022 budget, it will benefit from the State of California making significant investments to support community colleges. San Joaquin Delta College has also worked with government-managed services to provide benefits for its community. For instance, the San Joaquin Regional Transit District, governed by the Stockton City Council and San Joaquin Board of Supervisors, recently agreed to a partnership with the college to provide free unlimited transportation for students.
18. Arizona State University
For the 2021-2022 fiscal year, Arizona State University has predicted a $61 million increase in research spending. This figure comes after successful funding initiatives in the previous fiscal year. One example was the renewal of a $16.4 million National Science Foundation award. The college has also benefited significantly from coronavirus relief spending. For instance, the college gained $191 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. More than half of this higher education funding went directly to students. The 2019 Pew report notes that Arizona State University is one of the top three colleges for gaining Pell Grant funding through the federal Pell Grant program.
17. University of California, Berkeley
In the 2021 fiscal year, the University of California, Berkeley saw an almost 50% increase in research funding from the federal government. Thus, the college’s sponsored research funding topped $1 billion for the first-ever time. The college also received $79 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. It also uses its connections with other University of California colleges to gain further higher education funding. In December 2021, the college announced that it had successfully raised $17 million from government sources. These funds supported a clinical trial of a cure for sickle cell disease. This financial aid award was secured thanks to technology developed by the Innovative Genomics Institute, a joint University of California, Berkeley/University of California, San Francisco initiative, and the University of California, Los Angeles’s expertise in clinical analysis. In 2018, the University of California, Berkeley received the second-largest federal contract investments of any American college.
16. Ivy Tech Community College
In the 2020-2021 fiscal year, Ivy Tech Community College saw a 95.3% increase in federal funds and a 26.2% increase in state/local government funds. This combined higher education funding totaled $20 million. The college’s ability to secure government funds appears to be benefiting its students. For instance, in June 2021, the college announced that it could make its education more affordable. For example, it would make tuition fees the same for any student enrolled in 12 or more credits per year and cover the cost of student textbooks. The 2019 Pew report on higher education funding notes that Ivy Tech Community College is one of the top three colleges for receiving Pell Grants.
15. University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
About 75% of UCLA’s 2021 fiscal year research expenditures were funded by government sources. Since this fiscal year ended, the college has continued to gain funding for new projects. For instance, in July, the college managed to gain $250,000 from the California state budget to create a Hollywood diversity report. UCLA had the 12th highest research and development expenditure in 2017. 24/7 Wall Street states that the college had the sixteenth highest higher education funding from the government in 2015.
14. Duke University
Durham, North Carolina
In November 2021, Duke University announced that it had gained funding from the federal government to grant to students. Eligible students would gain either $1,750 or $3,000 in federal grants depending on their level of financial need. The college is also likely to increase its government research funds in the future. Its board of trustees has spent a significant amount of time studying ways to commercialize its research more effectively. In February 2021, the college announced that it was among the top 10 for gaining federal medical research funds in the previous year. Duke University had the eighth-highest research and development spending in 2017. 24/7 Wall Street states that in 2015, the college gained the 11th highest total federal funds.
13. University of Pennsylvania
In the 2021-2022 academic year, the University of Pennsylvania launched an initiative to ensure that its students can access 100% of the government funds that it has received due to coronavirus. In total, the college gained $40.5 million in federal grants to distribute over this time. This initiative suggests that the college has successfully increased its already high level of government funds. In April 2021, the college announced that it was the number one college for training grants from the National Institutes of Health. The University of Pennsylvania had the fourth-highest research and design spending in 2017. Wall Street notes that the college gained the sixth-highest federal funds for higher education in 2015.
12. The University of Wisconsin-Madison
As of August 2021, The University of Wisconsin-Madison had gained $53.4 million in pandemic aid for higher education. Approximately $28.6 million of this financial aid went directly to students. And in October 2021, the college reported that it had expanded its federally funded work-study initiative with businesses. This funding will allow more students to gain practical work experience. The University of Wisconsin-Madison had the sixth-highest research and development spending in 2017. The college gained the 13th highest federal funds in 2015.
11. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The total sponsored support (with the vast majority of this support coming from federal and state governments) that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology received from July 2020 to June 2021 increased by $55 million compared to the previous year. Additionally, other funding sources at the college are being used to help increase future funding for higher education. For example, the college’s endowment grew significantly from June 2020 to June 2021. The college stated that it would use this money to invest in further research operations. USA Facts says that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had the third-largest federal contract investment in 2018. In 2017, the college had the 14th highest research and development funding. 24/7 Wall Street states that the college gained the 18th highest federal funds in 2015.
10. Harvard University
In 2021, Harvard University’s federal funding increased to $625 million. This figure could have been even higher. But, the college’s leadership decided to decline coronavirus stimulus funding later in the year. Instead, the college decided to use its endowment as a funding source in later instances in 2020. An example of the kind of funding Harvard University received in 2021 is a $2.8 million award from the National Science Foundation to help minority youth pursue STEM careers. USA Facts highlights that, in 2018, Harvard University gained the most significant federal grants of any US college. In 2017, the college had the ninth-highest research and development funding. 247 Wall Street notes that in 2015, Harvard University gained the 14th highest funding of any college.
9. Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut
In the 2021 fiscal year, Yale University’s grant and contract income increased by 4.8% to $877 million. About $669 million of this funding came from the federal government (an unspecified amount also came from the Connecticut State Government). And thanks to strong financial growth, in late 2021, the college decided to invest in a range of areas that would likely increase future funding from the government. Examples include building infrastructure and hiring new faculty members. The college’s federal grants would have been even higher in 2020 and 2021, but the college decided to decline $28.9 million in coronavirus relief over this time. Yale University had the 15th highest research and development funding in 2017. 24/7 Wall Street states that the college had the 20th highest federal funds for higher education in 2015.
8. University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, California
The University of California, San Francisco announced that in 2020 it had received the highest level of funding from the National Institutes of Health of any public college for the 14th year in a row. This level of higher education funding has also increased every year since 2013. In 2020. it was $686 million. The college has continued to see large increases in federal grants in 2021. For instance, in February, it announced that it had already gained additional emergency grant funding for students from the Department of Education. UCSF had the third-highest research and development expenditure. 24/7 Wall Street states that in 2015, the college gained the 15th highest level of federal funds of any higher education institutions.
7. University of California, San Diego
San Diego, California
In the fiscal year of 2021, the University of California, San Diego, gained a record-breaking $1.54 billion in funding for research. Of this, $891 million came from federal funds. Some of the projects this money went into included establishing The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, investigating solutions to wildfires, and creating a fellowship in addiction psychiatry. UC San Diego had the seventh-highest research and development expenditure of any college in 2017. 24/7 Wall Street notes that the college gained the sixth-highest total amount of federal funds in 2015 compared to other postsecondary institutions.
6. Stanford University
The 2021 to 2022 budget plan that Stanford University is currently adhering to has federally funded direct research increasing by 3.3%. The college appears to be successful in gaining federal grants for a range of innovative projects. For instance, in November 2021, the college gained $15 million from the National Institutes of Health to study the long-term impacts of coronavirus. In 2018, Stanford University received the fourth-largest federal contract investment of any college. In 2017, the college gained the 10th highest research and design funding. 24/7 Wall Street states that the college had the fourth-highest total federal funds in 2015 compared to other higher education institutions.
5. Johns Hopkins University
The most recently released National Science Foundation report on higher education research and design names Johns Hopkins University as the highest recipient of funding. The report, which tracks the year 2019 but was released in January 2021, states that the college received $2.9 billion in that year. The college has likely increased its federal grants in 2021. There is ample evidence of the college expanding its research operations. For example, in October 2021, the college received the first federal grant for psychedelic treatment in 50 years. Johns Hopkins University gained the third-largest federal grants among postsecondary institutions in 2018. In 2021, the college had the highest research and development funding of any college. 24/7 Wall Street says that in 2015, the college had the most increased total federal funds of any college.
4. Columbia University
New York City, New York
From July 2020 to June 2021, Columbia University received $80 million more in government funding compared to the previous 12 months. The college is also proactively attempting to increase the future level of federal research dollars across the entire educational landscape. For instance, in October 2021, the college’s research division was reaching out to New York’s two senators and other lawmakers to pass legislation that boosts scientific research funding. In 2018, Columbia University had the second-largest federal grants of any college. 247 Wall Street states that in 2015, Columbia University had the seventh-highest federal funding of any college.
3. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
In August 2021, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced that it had topped $1 billion in funding for the financial year for the second year in a row. One innovative project came from $38.2 million in funding from the National Institute on Aging to create the most extensive study of adolescent health in the history of the US. Other government sources of funding include $638 million from the National Institutes of Health and $56.9 million in federal grants from the Department of Education. The college is also likely to see increases in funding in the future. From 2011 to 2021, the college only saw slight decreases in funding in the years 2012 and 2018. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had the 11th-highest research and design funding in 2017. 24/7 Wall Street states that in 2015, the college gained the ninth most money from the federal government compared to other higher education institutions. Pew’s 2019 report notes that The University of North Carolina was among the top three public postsecondary institutions for gaining research funding.
2. University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
In October 2021, the University of Michigan’s three campuses all received a 5% increase in funding from the State Government of Michigan. This funding has allowed the college to drop tuition increases for students and provide further federal student aid for low-income students. In June 2021, the college also released its budget for the 2021-2022 academic year. It predicted that the total federal funding for all campuses would be $1.3 billion compared to the 2020-2021 federal funding budget of $1 billion. By all indications, the college is successfully gaining a diverse range of funding that will continue. For instance, recent awards include $5.4 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This is to study climate change on the Great Lakes over the next five years. The school also received a $3 million award from the National Science Foundation to fund STEM diversification the next five years. Pew states that in 2019 that the University of Michigan was one of the top three public colleges to gain federal research funding. In 2017, the University of Michigan had the second-highest research and development funding of any American college. 24/7 Wall Street highlights that in 2015, the college gained the third highest federal funding among postsecondary institutions.
1. University of Washington
In the fiscal year of 2021, the University of Washington secured $1.45 billion in federal funding. This sum eclipses the sum given in 24/7 Wall Street’s ranking 2021 opening of the Hans Rosling Center for Population Health. This center is designed in a way that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration. Pew’s 2019 report notes that the University of Washington is among the top three public postsecondary institutions for gaining federal research funding. In 2017, it had the fifth-highest research and development funding.
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