When Vice President Mondale began his Thursday speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the cliched, "I am honored to speak at one of the finest centers of learning not only in the United States, but throughout the world," many thought what was billed as a "major policy speech" on education might prove to be just another campaign appeal.
But--although Mondale suggested no specific allocations of President Carter's recently proposed $600 million budget for research and technology--the vice president's proposal of a "dramatic renewal" of national commitment to "centers of excellence" might translate into significantly more federal aid for places like Harvard.
The federal government finances over 70 per cent of university research, but inflation and federal budget cuts have eaten away at research grants in the recent past.
Mondale pointed out that federal support for education in the past few decades has focused on making higher education accessible to disadvantaged groups. Now, he said, "the time has come to match our commitment to access with a comparable commitment to excellence."
President Bok, who went to Washington last week to advise Mondale on this issue, this week called the speech "a very promising beginning" and added, "It tends to give a higher priority to exactly the thing in which we engage."