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Kenneth S. Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security Announces 5-year Grants to Boston College and the University of Michigan To Fund Retirement Research

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October 2, 1998
For Immediate Release
Catherine Noe 202-358-6018
John Trollinger 410-965-8904

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Social Security Administration
News Release

Kenneth S. Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security Announces 5-year Grants to Boston College and the University of Michigan To Fund Retirement Research

Commissioner of Social Security, Kenneth S. Apfel, announced today that two universities, Boston College and the University of Michigan, have been selected to participate in the Social Security Administration's Retirement Research Consortium. The five-year program will provide $1.25 million in funding to each university in the first year. The mission of the Consortium is to plan and conduct a broad research program that will develop retirement policy information to assist policymakers, the public and the media in understanding Social Security issues.

"This Consortium is an important part of the evolution of the Social Security Administration as an independent agency," commented Commissioner Apfel. "By 2030, the number of Americans over age 65 will double. In order for the Social Security program to be prepared adequately to meet the needs of retired baby boomers, as well as future generations of Americans, we must know more about how retirees live -- including economic, social, health and geographic patterns. Establishing a strong and vital research program has been one of my highest priorities as Commissioner."

In addition to conducting research and evaluating retirement trends, the Consortium will disseminate information to the public, policymakers and the media. The Consortium will train and educate scholars to encourage young promising researchers to focus their efforts on retirement issues and keep current practitioners abreast of the most recent research available.

The Consortium has formed collaborative partnerships with other academic institutions and policy experts in the fields of economics, sociology and public policy. "The Social Security Administration is privileged to have a working partnership with some of the foremost retirement policy experts in America," the Commissioner stated. "Through this Consortium, the Social Security Administration will be in a position to provide national leadership on retirement policy issues."

The grants were awarded as a result of a full and open competitive process. Selection to participate in the Consortium was based on the recommendations of an expert review panel.

The composition of the Consortium is as follows:

Boston College and Affiliated Institutions

Collaborators are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Syracuse University, the Brookings Institution, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the Urban Institute. The Director of this Center is Alicia Munnell, a former member of the Council of Economic Advisors, former Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy of the U.S. Treasury, and former Vice President of the Federal Reserve in Boston.

University of Michigan Retirement Research Center

Collaborators include Cornell University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Rand Corporation and Mountain View Research, Inc. The Center's Director is Lee Lillard, former Director of the National Institute on Aging's Center for the Study of Aging at RAND.

Note: copies of most SSA press releases, as well as other Social Security information and statistics, are available at SSA’s Internet site, Social Security Online, at

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