Closing the Gap in the Production of Bachelor's Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

News Date: 8/7/2014

Albany, NY – New York students should be able to benefit from the proposed Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program regardless of where they choose to attend college concludes a new report from the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU), an Albany-based association of more than 100 private, not-for-profit institutions of higher education.

The Executive Budget for SFY 2014-15 proposes offering the state’s best and brightest high school graduates with scholarships to study in STEM-related fields, but only if they choose to enroll at the State University of New York (SUNY) or City University of New York (CUNY). The report, "Stemming the Tide: How New York's Independent Sector of Higher Education Can Help New York State Close the Gap in the Production of Bachelor's Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)," presents compelling evidence that the state should make the scholarship available to these high potential students no matter where they choose to enroll in New York State.

New York's Independent Sector of higher education awarded nearly six in 10 (58%; 17,154 of 29,665) of the bachelor’s degrees awarded in STEM fields in New York State in 2011-12, according to a new CICU analysis of data from National Center for Education Statistics. Private, not-for-profit colleges and universities collectively confer 69% of bachelor's degrees in engineering and engineering technologies earned in the state; 51% in computer and information sciences; 56% in biological and biomedical sciences; 58% in the health professions; 50% in mathematics and statistics; and 45% in physical sciences and science technologies. 

New York State and the nation need more STEM-educated college graduates. Projected growth in major occupational groups from 2010 to 2020 include demand in the computer and mathematical field, and life, physical, and social sciences field, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Currently, of all the bachelor’s degrees awarded in the state, just one quarter (23%; 29,665 of 129,643) are awarded to students pursuing STEM and related degrees. 

"Based on the growing need for STEM degrees, I applaud the Governor's recent proposal to create a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program to offer the state's best and brightest high school graduates with scholarships to study STEM-related fields. We agree that this investment will help fill job openings in some of the fastest growing sectors of the economy and encourage our best and brightest students to build their careers here in New York," said Laura L. Anglin, president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities.

While one-third of its bachelor’s degrees earned in the United States are in STEM fields, half (50%) of all degrees awarded in China and Japan are in these critical areas. 

"We are already behind, and risk widening the gap if we do not fully engage all campuses in creative efforts such as the Incentive Program." Ms. Anglin continued. "Right now, every other scholarship program currently in statute enables students to take their state-funded scholarship equal in value to SUNY tuition to the New York independent college or university of their choice. To leverage all of New York’s higher education assets in bolstering our STEM-educated workforce, we want to ensure that program eligibility extends to students who wish to enroll in a private, not-for-profit college or university in New York State."

Click here for the full report.

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About the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU): CICU is a statewide association representing the public policy interests of the chief executives of more than 100 independent colleges and universities in New York State. Founded in 1956 by a small group of private, not-for-profit college and university presidents, the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) now represents 100+ independent campuses across New York State. CICU is an educational corporation formed under the New York State Regents. Its mission is to develop consensus among a diverse membership and to advance higher education public policy. For more information, visit http://www.cicu.org and http://www.nycolleges.org. Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cicu 

Contact:

Jennifer Miller, Director of Communications (jennifer@cicu.org; 518-436-4781)

Terri Standish-Kuon, Vice President, Communications and Administration (terri@cicu.org; 518-436-4781)