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Just How Bad Is the Waste?

Dartmouth is a rich school with very poor management. In terms of endowment per student, we stand behind HYP, but ahead of everyone else in the Ivies:

Ivy League Endowment Per Student 2014.jpg

Schools draw about 5% from their endowment each year in order to fund their operations. We can draw approximately $15,000k-20,000k more per student from our endowment than Penn, Brown, Columbia and Cornell:

Ivy League Endowment Draw Per Student 2014.jpg

Does any of that wealth translate into more reasonable tuition at Dartmouth than at the schools who have a smaller endowment per student than we have? Nope:

Ivy League Tuition 2015.jpg

Obviously, it is less expensive, and it should be, to go to über-wealthy HYP than to Dartmouth, but why are Penn, Brown and Cornell less expensive than Dartmouth, too? We can understand that #4-ranked Columbia is expensive — a small endowment/student and a high-cost Manhattan location — but is there any rational justification for the high cost of the College?

Some folks recommend that we keep our high tuition as an indication of our élite status. To my mind, such a position shows an incomplete understand of pricing. We could certainly cut tuition (an easy step given the fantastic endowment returns over the past two years: 19.2% and 8.3%) to take the burden off of families, and then advertise that we are the best managed of the Ivies, the best value, and the best experience, too.

Do you think that the number of applicants would drop if we did so? After all, #1 Princeton costs almost 10% less to attend each year than Dartmouth, and the Tigers don’t appear to be suffering in the rankings.


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