Magazine October 5, 2009, Issue

Check that Checkbook

(AndreyPopov/Getty Images)
A guide to smarter alumni giving

Before sending a check to your alma mater this year, know this about higher education: America’s wealthy and elite universities are convinced that you need them more than they need you.

At the beginning of 2008, 76 colleges and universities had endowments estimated to be $1 billion or more. That number has shrunk because of the financial crisis, but leading universities will not be breaking out the tin cup anytime soon. True, many institutions (including Harvard and Dartmouth) have been forced to make major budget cuts and issue hundreds of millions of dollars in debt financing. But these shortfalls resulted primarily

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A reader argues that drug dealers are criminals — and if drugs were legalized, they would still be criminals.

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