Phi Beta Cons

Endowments Under Fire

Many elite universities have matching elite sticker prices. (At Duke University, for example, tuition and fees are just under $50,000.)

Now, members of Congress want to “do something” about it. In the most recent article for the Pope Center, George Leef explains that two members of Congress are asking universities with endowments over $1 billion to account for their large tuition hikes.

Another representative is taking action. Leef writes:

He drafted a bill entitled the Reducing Excessive Debt and Unfair Costs of Education Act. The thrust of that bill (acronymically, REDUCE) mandates that colleges with endowments of $1 billion or more must use at least 25 percent of their earnings every year to lower the cost of attending for ‘working families,’ which includes family incomes up to 600 percent of the federal poverty line. Schools that fail to comply would face penalties including the possible loss of tax-exempt status, which would severely hinder their fundraising.

Leef criticizes the move. The bill, he says, would mean more micromanagement, more red tape, and very little benefit to students.

Read Leef’s argument here.

Jenna A. RobinsonJenna Ashley Robinson is the president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. Before becoming president, she was the center's director of outreach. She was previously the ...


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