The Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access in Public Higher Education


Public higher education is key to U.S. educational infrastructure and the foundation of competitiveness. As centers of learning, culture, research, and entrepreneurship, these institutions drive social mobility and economic growth. Yet over the past decade, state funding to these universities has declined precipitously, forcing campuses across the country to make difficult choices about institutional spending and resource allocation.

The Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access in Public Higher Education has considered the implications of reduced state investment in public higher education; assessed the role of the federal government in funding our great public research universities; and developed recommendations for ensuring that public universities continue to serve the nation as engines of economic development and opportunity for Americans from all backgrounds.

The Lincoln Project is named for President Abraham Lincoln to commemorate his role in signing the Morrill Act of 1862, which laid the groundwork for the United States’ public university system.

Lincoln Project Introductory Video




Project Chairs

Gene D. Block

University of California, Los Angeles
Academy Member

Henry E. Brady

University of California, Berkeley
Dean, Goldman School of Public Policy & Professor of Political Science and Public Policy
Academy Member

Nancy E. Cantor

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Chancellor, Rutgers-Newark
Academy Member

John T. Casteen

University of Virginia
President, Emeritus: University Professor and Professor of English
Academy Member

Donald Graham

Graham Holdings Co
Chairman of the Board
Academy Member

Robert D. Haas

Levi Strauss & Company
Chairman Emeritus, Former President and Chief Executive Officer
Academy Member

Michael Hout

New York University
Professor of Sociology
Academy Member

James Albert Smith Leach

University of Iowa College of Law
Chair in Public Affairs, Visiting Professor of Law
Academy Member

George Miller

House Education and Workforce Committee (former Chair)

John W. Rogers

Ariel Investments, LLC
Founder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Investment Officer
Academy Member

Shirley M. Tilghman

Princeton University
President Emerita and Professor of Biology and Public Affairs
Academy Member

Phyllis M. Wise

Colorado Longitudinal Study
Chief Executive Officer, President and Board Member
Academy Member

Pauline Ruth Yu

American Council of Learned Societies
Academy Member


News & Updates

News & Updates



Project Outreach

Project Outreach

The Lincoln Project held regional meetings and briefings in 15 states across the country bringing together leaders in public higher education, government, policy, business, and philanthropy. Over 38,000 print copies of the project's five publications were distributed to stakeholders around the country. The project was cited extensively in a broad range of media outlets including The New York TimesThe Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlantic, CNN Money, Forbes, WGBH News, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Ed. 

Learn more about the Lincoln Project's influence:

Outreach Activities & Impact 

Media Coverage