Tuesday, September 9, 2008

College Presidents Defend High Tuition Costs and Speak Out Against Legislation to Require Endowment Spending

On September 9, 2008, the New York Times reports that a number of U.S. college Presidents are defending the rising cost of college tuition and arguing against legislation that would require them to spend down their endowments.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

But Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa, and Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, who convened a round-table discussion on the subject, indicated that they would continue their effort to push universities to justify their tax exemptions by spending more of their endowment money.

“Tuition has risen at twice the rate of per capita income,” Mr. Welch said, “and this year it will cost just under $50,000 to attend the average private college. If the cost of milk had risen as fast as the cost of college since 1980, a gallon would be $15.”

. . .

Education leaders said Monday that many universities had been taking steps to make college more affordable.

“Total student aid provided by institutions has more than doubled in the last decade, from $11.4 billion to $26.3 billion,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education.

Ms. Broad pointed out that despite all the attention to the richest universities and highest tuitions, most universities had small endowments. Only 3 percent of the nation’s college students are at institutions costing $25,000 a year or more, she said, and just 75 universities control 71 percent of all endowment assets.

For the entire story, see "College Presidents Defend Rising Tuition, Lawmakers Sound Skeptical" in the September 9, 2008, issue of the New York Times.  For prior Nonprofit Lawprof blog coverage on this endowment spend-down issue, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.



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