G-T on OSU lobbying in DC

This G-T editorial is pretty straightforward, but it misses one key point:

The numbers speak for themselves: Last year, OSU received a record $231 million in research money. That number has more than doubled since 2000, according to university reports.

More than half of that $231 million, about $136 million, came from competitive federal grants.

That’s a pot of money that OSU is interested in growing, especially considering the volatile nature of state support in Oregon for higher education.

That’s all fine and good, but many – most, even – grants, especially those dedicated to research can’t be used to pay for operating costs. Oh, sure, they can be used to pay for some of the operating costs of the research project in question, but not the general costs of operating a university.  That money does have to come from tuition and the state and federal government.  In that sense, more research money doesn’t help.  Heck, I bet there’s even a point at which more research money puts a strain on the university’s ability to keep up.  Basic stuff like staff salaries, buildings, utility bills, etc. – those are necessary even if just to support the researchers, never mind the whole teaching aspect of a university like OSU.

This isn’t meant as a strike against the G-T, by the way; rather, it’s intended to be read as an argument against the privatization of universities.


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