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Student loans and University Endowments

Student loans and University Endowments

April 30, 2024

The following is a repost of a blog I wrote at the end of last year that seems like premonition of the current affairs of the Higher Education community.  With all the unrest on the University campuses occurring lately, I feel it is time to revisit some of the important facts about the University environment and the resulting chaos resulting from the billions in grants and contracts granted to the colleges and Universities.  I encourage you to go and read Brian Wesbury's latest Monday Morning Outlook.  The link is attached here: 

https://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2024/4/29/the-worst-malinvestment

There is a lot in the News and Press about Student loans debt and also about the Wealth of Universities.  Recent articles quoting the U.S. News and world Report list the 15 Universities with the Biggest Endowments.... the list and total is astounding.  One of their definitions of these college endowments is "A collection of Tax-Exempt donations and investments used to advance an institutions Mission".   To no ones surprise the University with the biggest endowment is Harvard University. The list is as follows:

School                                                  U.S. News Rank in top 50           End of Fiscal year 2022 Endowment   

Harvard University (MA)                                3 (tie)                                     $50,877,680,000

Yale University  (CT)                                     5                                             $41,383,260,000

Stanford University (CA)                                3 (tie)                                      $36,338,794,000

Princeton University (NJ)                                1                                            $35,126,200,000

Massachusetts Institute of Technology           2                                             $24,600,809,000

University of Pennsylvania                              6                                             $20,724,351,000

Texas A&M University                                      47                                           $17,219,500,000

University of Notre Dame  (IN)                         20                                           $17,101,110,000

University of Michigan                                      21                                           $17,095,088,000

Duke University (NC)                                       7 (tie)                                      $12,692,472,000

Washington University St Louis                      24 (tie)                                     $12,282,058,000

Emory University (GA)                                    24 (tie)                                     $11,155,404,520

Vanderbilt University (TN)                               18 (tie)                                     $10,928,512,232

University of Virginia                                        24 (tie)                                     $9,703,267,510

Cornell University                                             12(tie)                                      $9,346,229,362 _________________________________________________________________________   

                                                                                               TOTAL             $326,574,736,312

That's near a third of a Trillion dollars.  Which would make just these 15 University's the 66th largest economy in the world by GDP.  They pay no US Income tax. They have a board whose only objective, it seems to me, is to make the endowment grow.  Recently many of the University's have been cited for their political, International, and Social influencing activities. 

It is estimated that if the Universities were to act in a truly not for profit, non -political, method of activity they would  forgo all student tuition and continue to raise funds from the Alumni and reinvestment of the foundation capital. They would continue to grow based on the success of their mission of Education.    These foundations are large enough now to forgo all tuition, for the next 25-50 years, and still reap the benefits of a growing monetary base, based on its tax free status and Alumni Contributions.  I know it is a unique concept. Instead of the American Taxpayer continuing to fund the Loans, Grants, and forgiveness, let the extremely large foundations shoulder that burden and reap the benefit of retaining their tax free status.

Many of the Trades have education and apprenticeship programs (Plumbing, Carpentry, etc.) could accomplish that.  I think that someone who can build a house, manufacture a car, erect a bridge, construct an electrical or highway infrastructure system, protect us and solve crimes, all deserve and earn as much respect, honor, and compensation as the individuals who are dedicated to the humanities, arts, media, and social sciences.  

 I believe you will find across this great nation that If you are someone who can fix my Furnace, when its freezing outside.  Cure my family when they are sick. Protect my neighborhood from catastrophes.  Grow good food for us to eat.  You will find a nation of people who do not care about your gender, the color of your skin, or your religion, but will shake you hand and embrace you for all that you are and do.  

  We have some serious issues facing our country and our world.  They do not include what high school, college, or university you graduated from. It does not include whether you believe the Planet is a globe or a flat surface.  It does not include whether you are a Republican or a Democrat.

Are you safe?  Do you have a place to sleep peacefully tonight?  Will you be able to eat today and tomorrow?  Are you Healthy and Well?  Are you able to care for yourself and others?   If you can answer affirmatively to those then you are blessed and well, as am I.  

During this holiday season.  Help some who are not as fortunate as you.  Give to a food pantry, the Salvation Army, or a cause you believe is deserving and in need.  Shake a friends hand and wish them well.  Hug your family. Quietly forgive yourself and others.

Have a Happy, Safe, Merry Christmas


Important The opinions expessressed are mine and not to be  considered an investment recommendation or solicitation of any specific product or program.

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