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The College’s Squandered Wealth

I know I’m repeating myself here, but every time that I see evidence of the College’s extraordinary wealth — especially compared to Penn, Columbia, Brown and Cornell, I want to jump up and down and wave a red flag.

The Congressional Research Service has prepared an elaborate report entitled: College and University Endowments: Overview and Tax Policy Options. Among the data it highlights is a table illustrating the enormous disparity in the endowment per student of various schools:

CRS Endowment Study.jpg

Endowment Per Student 2017 Comp.jpg

Unlike HYP and the College, of the four remaining poor sisters of the Ivies — Penn ($541,389/student), Columbia ($357,762/student), Brown ($346,005/student) and Cornell ($293,616/student) — only Penn makes it onto the Congressional Research Service’s endowment/student table.

Now let’s think about these figures in practical terms. Each year, the Ivy institutions draw out about 5% of the value of their endowments to help fund their operations. Let’s see how many endowment dollars/student each school is drawing in the current year:

Endowment Draw 5 Percent Ivy League 2017-2018.jpg

Look at the relative position of the College. We can’t compete with HYP, but, for example, we have about $22,000/student more to spend this year than Brown ($39,120 vs.$17,300), yet we pay our faculty poorly, the entire College infrastructure is in bad shape, and dining services are over-priced and cause students to wait in line for ages (we will refrain from commenting on the food).

Will nobody do something about this state of affairs?


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