University receives record funding, enrollment boost

“The University of Akron is experiencing continuing growth and expansion this year. Fall enrollment for 2007 is up almost 5 percent from last year’s record-setting numbers. Also, the university is enjoying a record-setting period of research projects and funding.”

The University of Akron is experiencing continuing growth and expansion this year.

Fall enrollment for 2007 is up almost 5 percent from last year’s record-setting numbers. Also, the university is enjoying a record-setting period of research projects and funding.

In a UA press release, externally funded research and other sponsored programs totaled $32.8 million for the 2006-2007 year. This is divided up between 459 projects. This is up six percent from last years’ $30.7 million and 407 projects.

That includes all UA research, said Mary Ellen Hinkle, an accountant at the UA research foundation. That was a little misleading.

Along with the increase in funding, the university is experiencing an increase in population as well.

There are 4,176 incoming freshmen this fall, a 5.8 percent increase from 2006, according to another UA press release from Wednesday. It also said the quality of freshmen can be measured by the number admitted directly into a degree-granting college. This is up 8 percent from last year with 1,031 students directly admitted.

An increase in the number of graduate and professional students has also increased 5 percent to 4,036.

The rise in student population, especially graduate and professional students, tied with an increase in research funding could lead to more opportunities for students at the university.

Internships, fellowships and similar arrangements serve students and the community well, providing relevant educational experiences while helping revitalize our region, said President Luis Proenza, in the press release Wednesday. At the graduate level, students in those situations have an immediate and positive impact through their external employer, and they are more likely to stay in Ohio and contribute to our economic growth after graduating.

Vice president of research George Newkome said students should be proud of UA’s reputation.

The success of our externally funded research projects and licensing is a clear indication of the reputation and excellence of University of Akron researchers, said Newkome, in the press release on research. I applaud them for their accomplishments; their contributions to our ever-growing research portfolio are a source of pride for everyone at the university. In these challenging years of funding for public universities, it is encouraging to see their successes.

An increase in UA licensing revenue is up as well. UA received 6.3 million for patents and technology this year, and had an all time high increase of 231 percent from last year’s $1.9 million.

It is for technology that were patented at the university that outside companies are developing, Hinkle said. Outside companies are using it and we get revenue off their sales.

Hinkle said the UARF is not at liberty to say who is sponsoring projects at UA. She said it’s part of the deal with corporate sponsors.

They’re all corporate names who are developing our technology.

However, she said the polymer science, polymer engineering, and department of engineering receive most projects and funding.