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2. A STATISTICAL OVERVIEW OF THE MARC HONORS UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH TRAINING PROGRAM The early years of the MARC Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program were characterized by an expansion of training sites and trainees. Program growth has slowed in recent years. The first l2 Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program awards were made in l977. Five new programs were added in each of the next two years. In l980, the number of new awards rose to l3. In subsequent years, smaller numbers of new schools were added. In l984, there were 52 MARC Honors programs in operation (Table 2.l). A list of program schools by year of first funding is presented in Appendix A.' Funding for the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program grew along with the number of programs supported (Table 2.l). In l977, the budget was less than one million dollars. Small increments in l978 and l979 were followed by a major budget increase in l980, the year that l3 new programs were added. The increase from l.8 million dollars in l979 to 3.3 million dollars in l980 was the largest single increment in program funding. In fiscal year l985, the projected budget for the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program was 4.93 million dollars. Adjusting for inflation, the annual rate of growth in MARC Honors funding from l977 through l984 was l7.6 percent. During the first fiscal year of operation (l977), there were 74 undergraduate trainees funded by the MARC Honors program. The number of trainees grew steadily over the next several years reaching 372 trainees in l983. From l977 to l983, the annual growth rate was 30.9 percent. Since l983, there has been little expansion in the number of trainees supported. Fewer trainees were supported in l984 than in l983, and the projected level for l985 (389) is only slightly above the l983 level. to their limited period of operation, programs funded after l982 are not included in this evaluation.
TABLE 2.l Level of Funding for MARC Honors Undergraduate Research Training Programs ($ millions) Funding Number of Programs Fiscal Year Number of Trainees Current $ l972 $ New Total l977 0.99 0.70 12 12 74 l978 l.29 0.85 5 17 ll7 l979 l.80 l.09 5 22 l63 l980 3.27 l.83 13 35 237 l98l 3.53 l.8l 5 40 286 l982 4.20 2.03 4 42b 319 l983 4.65 2.l6 8 49C 372 l984 4.88 2.l8 3 52 366 l985 (projected) 4.93 a 1 53 389 Adjustment factors are not available. bFunding for two programs was not renewed. cFunding for one program was not renewed. SOURCE: National Institutes of Health, MARC Program Office. At the present time, there are no administratively collected data on the race or ethnicity of MARC Honors Undergraduate trainees. Grants are made to institutions with "substantial minority populations," and the institutions themselves select the trainees from among their student applications. The list of institutions that have received grants is shown in Appendix A. An estimate of the racial/ethnic composition of the trainees supported under this program was obtained from a survey of former trainees conducted during this study and reported upon in Chapter 5. Steady progress towards a bachelor's degree is the norm for MARC Honors trainees. Between l978 and l984, 677 trainees (86.2 percent) graduated while on the program. One hundred and eight trainees (l3.8 percent) left the program prior to graduation. Many of these students graduated later. Some left the program because they exhausted their two years of MARC Honors funding; other terminations reflect changing educational and career plans. A few terminations were the result of an inability to maintain the required minimum 3.0 grade point average. The typical trainee spent l8.5 months in the MARC Honors program.2 median length of MARC funding is l9.9 months for trainees who graduate and ll.0 months for those who are terminated. These figures are based on the 576 cases with complete data (474 graduations and l02 terminations).
The majority of the MARC Honors Undergraduate trainees have been biology or biological science majors (Table 2.2). Nearly 60 percent earned their bachelor's degrees in biology or a related discipline (e.g., biochemistry, botany, or premed). Approximately one-fourth of the trainees were chemistry majors. The remaining l5 percent earned their degrees in psychology, physics, mathematical sciences, or other disciplines. The grade point average of the MARC Honors trainees (based on 448 cases with reported data) was 3.3. TABLE 2.2 Distribution of MARC Trainees by Major Field Field Number Percent Biological Sciences 405 59.3 Chemistry l63 23.9 Psychology 46 6.7 Mathematics & Computer Sciences 4l 6.0 Physics l6 2.3 Other l2 l.8 Totala 683 l00.0 aExcludes cases with missing or unreported major field. SOURCES: MARC Grant Renewal Applications and MARC Honors Survey.