We are trying to make up these other elements by gaining cost efficiencies through our reengineering process and through overt fund-raising activities to better support graduate education.
Nonetheless, the research budgets of the Department of Defense are under enormous stress-and they are extremely important because they support more than 40 percent of all federal funding for engineering schools across the country. So the threat was and is real.
I would also certainly continue to keep loan repayment interest rates as low as possible. And I would spread the financial aid a little less thinly across all income brackets.
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.
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.
We will work with industrial or Dept. Of Defence sponsorship as long as we keep our principals of openness firm we're proud to work with the military, and they respect that in turn.
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 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.
We have been restraining the growth of the cost of education-that is, tuition, room and board-to be within approximately one and a half percentage points of the consumer price index.
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.