We concentrate so much on what we're really good at that sometimes we don't look far enough out into the future and see what the problems are.
We must have excellence, but we must also have accessibility to that excellence.
Agency by agency, we frequently have lost a bit of ground, at least to inflation-but had it not been for the efforts we've made to educate people about the importance of science, technology and advanced education, those predictions very well might have come true.
Looking ahead, I believe that the underlying importance of higher education, of science, of technology, of research and scholarship to our quality of life, to the strength of our economy, to our security in many dimensions will continue to be the most important message.
Over-reliance on strictly economic justifications has already begun to hurt the quality and range of education at every level of American life.
I believe that our office has clearly been the leader in building coalitions, in getting other universities across the contrary to interact more effectively with the government and particularly the Congress.
Literally from the moment I came in the door of MIT, it was very clear that a highly productive 40-year partnership between U.S. research universities and the federal government was badly eroding.
The term 'cost shifting,' as I use it, refers to those items in a university's budget that used to be reimbursed by the federal government but are no longer paid for by them.
There is no question that we are in a period in which we are going to have to use those sources to fund about 35 million dollars a year that used to be paid for by the federal government.
Given the best of all possible worlds, I would make a few changes. I would place emphasis on increasing the amount of funding that goes into programs like Pell Grants, that purely and simply award funds to students who really cannot afford full tuition.
On the other hand, it is not fair to say that changes in federal policy have caused our tuition to rise faster. Every economic argument imaginable would indicate that we should raise tuition at a faster rate than we do.
Of course, tax revenues have ended up being substantially higher than they were at the time these dire projections were made, and we are very close now to having a balanced budget. All that has been very helpful.
Our goal has been to more effectively promote the value of publicly-supported research at our universities, both to the Congress and to the general public.
For much of this decade, both Congressional and administration budget projections showed a decline in science and technology accounts of between 20 and 30 percent in real dollars. The real impact to date has been far less severe.
The Science Coalition, which grew out of an initial concept at Harvard and at MIT, has now grown to an informal group of about 60 research universities.