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AAU By the Numbers


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 universities earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for academic research and are educating tomorrow’s visionary leaders and global citizens. Note: This data reflects AAU's membership prior to the admission of 3 new members on November 6, 2019.

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Education at AAU Universities

Students at AAU universities have an 83% graduation rate over 6 years, and 50% of students graduate debt free. AAU universities award 42% of all research doctoral degrees, yet make up only 2% of all 4-year universities in the U.S.

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Economic Impact of AAU Universities

AAU universities create jobs, produce innovative technologies, and boost local economies. In 2017 alone, AAU paid $82 billion in salaries to 740,107 employees, produced 5,006 patents, and fostered the creation of 669 start-ups. 40 AAU universities are in the top 50 for producing venture capital-backed entrepreneurs, and 490 start-up companies were generated in the university's home state in 2017.

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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 71% of their financial aid from their institutions, and default at lower rates; 2.8%, compared to 7.0% and 14.3% 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. $24.3 billion in federally funded basic research, or 60% 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 $20.1 billion in university research to improve the lives of Americans.

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