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America's Leading Research Universities: By the Numbers

About AAU By The Numbers graphic

Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities is composed of America’s leading research universities. AAU’s 71 research universities transform lives through education, research, and innovation. Our member universities earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for research that improves public health, seeks to address national challenges, and contributes significantly to our economic strength, while educating and training tomorrow’s visionary leaders and innovators. 

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Total Employees

Economic Impact of AAU Universities

AAU universities create jobs, produce innovative technologies, and boost local economies. In 2020 alone, AAU paid $107.4 billion in salaries to 849,940 employees, produced 4,980 patents, and fostered the creation of 622 start-ups. 39 AAU universities are in the top 50 for producing venture capital-backed entrepreneurs, and 374 start-up companies were generated in the university's home state.

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Education at AAU Universities

 In 2021, AAU institutions awarded 51% of all research doctoral degrees and 22% of all undergraduate degrees in STEM and Social Sciences

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Institutional Grant Aid AAU Universities

Value of AAU Universities

AAU universities provide excellent value to their students. Students from AAU universities receive 74% of their financial aid from their institutions, and default at lower rates; 2.3%, compared to 6.3% and 12.4% for non-profit and for-profit universities respectively.

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Federally funded research by agency

AAU Universities Conduct Critical Research

Federal agencies rely on universities to perform critical research in the national interest - AAU universities perform the majority of that research. $31.5 billion in federally funded basic research, or 64% of the total amount funded, is performed by faculty at AAU universities. Agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services (including NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Defense (DoD) alone funded $26.5 billion in university research to improve the lives of Americans.

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