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How much federal funding do colleges in your state receive?

Cabot Phillips with discusses federal funding for public and private universities. (Video: Sinclair Broadcast Group)
Cabot Phillips with discusses federal funding for public and private universities. (Video: Sinclair Broadcast Group)
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Every year billions of taxpayer dollars help fund higher education. Under a March 21 executive order, President Donald Trump put colleges and universities on notice that those federal funds could be taken away if they fail to protect free speech on campus.

Campus Reform, a watchdog group associated with The Leadership Institute, broke down the numbers to look at how much money colleges get from the federal government and what could be at stake.

"We wanted to give a tool for the average Americans to be able to look up how much their school is getting from taxpayer funding and how much schools in their state were getting," explained Cabot Phillips, the media director for

Users can flip through the interactive report to their state to see the institutions receiving the largest portion of federal research funds and then enter their college or alma mater into the search bar.

Overall, the federal government gave $40 billion to public and private universities for research and development in 2017, according to data from the National Science Foundation that Campus Reform used in its report.

The top five recipients of federal research and development dollars were Johns Hopkins, University of Washington Seattle, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Stanford and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and North Carolina were the states with the largest portion of federal research funding.

Those R&D funds or other higher education grants could potentially be withheld from universities under President Trump's executive order to protect free and open debate on college campuses.

The executive order was aimed at protecting "free and open debate on college and university campuses" and followed several high profile incidents of colleges, including UC Berkley, Middlebury, canceling or rescheduling conservative speakers because of student protests. The protests have fueled complaints that higher education institutions were trying to silence and discourage conservatives.

Campus Reform has documented threats and attempts to shut down certain speakers as well as other incidents of universities defunding student groups or limiting campus political expression to "free speech zones."

"All of those things serve to hurt the exchange of ideas on campus," he said. "And if universities aren't putting their foot down and protecting those First Amendment rights...I think it's fair for them to potentially lose funding."

It is not entirely clear how the presidential action will be implemented. In the interest of protecting free and open debate on college campuses, the president ordered the various agencies in charge of disbursing education and research grants must work with the Office of Management and Budget to ensure institutions that receive federal dollars promote free and open debate in compliance with the First Amendment.

A number of colleges criticized the president's order as redundant saying their grants already have strong free speech provisions in place. Other critics worry that schools could preemptively stifle certain types of speech out of fear the Trump administration will cut their funds.

Phillips is more optimistic. "Hopefully, this executive order will lead to more dialogue on campus, it will lead to universities truly being a marketplace of ideas as they should be," he said. "All students benefit when there's a diversity of opinion on campus."

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