Poor Little Rich Universities

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Universities that cry poor while entertaining themselves lavishly are finding it harder to keep up their public service facade, even in publications that would normally be sympathetic to them.

“When Congress asked dozens of schools to report on their spending in 2016, for instance, Harvard declined to say exactly how much of its $37 billion endowment is paid to the people who manage it.,” Neena Satija wrote in The Washington Monthly. “While most colleges did tell Congress what percentage of their annual endowment payout goes to financial aid, they generally didn’t elaborate further—such as on the proportion of aid that’s based on academic merit, which tends to benefit upper-middle-class students, versus financial need.”

As it happens, late last year, another writer, writing in that same publication, outlined exactly that trend. “Since the late 1990s, nearly two-thirds of selective public universities reduced the share of traditional-aged students they enrolled from the bottom 40 percent of the income scale,” Meredith Kolodner reported in The Washington Monthly. “In addition, two-thirds of these universities increased the share of students from the top 20 percent of the income ladder.”

“And half of them did both at the same time, meaning the wealthiest students took seats at the expense of poorer students.” Kolodner drew on the research of the New America Foundation, a left-wing think tank.