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New Administration Presents Opportunity to Strengthen Government-University Partnership

The following is a statement from Association of American Universities President Barbara R. Snyder about the inauguration of President Joe Biden:

Earlier today, President Joe Biden was sworn into office, as dictated by our Constitution and the votes of the American people. While the incoming administration feels like a new beginning, there is still much work to be done to overcome what was the most divisive presidential election – and presidency – of our lifetimes.

As America’s leading research universities, our members have enjoyed a productive partnership with the federal government since the middle of the 20th century. The new administration provides a unique – and crucial – opportunity to rebuild and reaffirm our historic government partnership by expanding opportunities for Americans from all backgrounds to attend and complete college, renewing investments in higher education and scientific research, safeguarding American innovation, and enhancing immigration policies.

It will be hard to reclaim the ground our nation has lost in recent years. For decades now – and particularly during the last four years – federal de-prioritization of investments in research and higher education, inaction on important issues affecting immigration and infrastructure, and implementation of short-sighted policies that harm inclusion and international talent recruitment have done significant damage to the government-university partnership. Compounding the problem, in recent years political brinkmanship has repeatedly delayed the budget process and caused government shutdowns that have further harmed U.S. innovation and prosperity and jeopardized our efforts to beat COVID-19.

As we emerge from a profoundly contentious presidency and presidential election cycle, we solemnly hope for continued peace and security here in the nation’s capital. We look forward to working with the new administration and Congress to bolster the partnership that has ensured the United States remains a global leader in research, science, and higher education.

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Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities is composed of America’s leading research universities. AAU’s 65 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.

AAU member universities collectively help shape policy for higher education, science, and innovation; promote best practices in undergraduate and graduate education; and strengthen the contributions of leading research universities to American society.

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