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Op-Ed: Don’t Over Tax the Poor and Middle Class, Tax the Bloated University Endowments

University Endowments
Why don’t wealthy colleges and universities use excess funds in their endowments to reduce tuition to levels where even the average student and his family could afford to pay, instead of constantly raising tuition? File photo: William Potter, Shutter Stock, licensed.

DELRAY BEACH, FL – The Democrats, in their misguided wisdom, are planning on hiring 85,000 additional income tax auditors, in their misnamed “Inflation Reduction Act”. Who are they going to audit to get revenue to pay for their profligate spending, the “big cats” of industry, or you and me the majority of tax payers?

Of course, the Democrats, as usual, as their tax and spend priorities come to the forefront, are going to put the screws on the poor and middle class to help pay for their wasteful programs because the majority of the country fits into those categories. Instead, they should be looking to tax the endowment funds of the elite universities who are bubbling over with mostly tax free endowment funds. During the Trump Administration, they administered a 1.4% excise tax on schools which only was a pittance of a tax as to what those schools had in their endowment portfolios. The presidents of many of those universities are now lobbying Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), to even get rid of that 1.4% excise tax.  Is it “fair” that many universities, who keep raising their tuition fees way above the consumer price index, with their billions of dollars of endowments, to not contribute to the general welfare by paying their “fair share” in taxes?

Harvard’s endowment grew to $53.2 billion just last year – the highest in the nation after the school reported a 33% return on investment, and yet they still increased student tuition. It isn’t just Harvard who has accumulated such bloated endowments. The other Ivy League schools also are sitting on loads of endowment money. Another elite school, Stanford University, endowments swelled to $42 billion, a 40.1% return on investment.

Over the past number of years, many schools have added to their endowments while they have raised student tuition fees to astronomical levels, whereas a four year university degree could cost a family from $100,000 to $300,000, depending on the school the student is attending. Why don’t these wealthy colleges and universities use some of those excess funds in their endowments to reduce tuition to levels where even the average student and his family could afford to pay, instead of constantly raising tuition?  Could it be that the federal government guarantees most all of the student loans, thereby giving the wealthy schools a guaranteed income flow? Once the government got involved in guaranteeing student loans, tuition rates skyrocketed.

Here are some of the endowments of universities other than Harvard and Stanford. (approximate figures)

  • University of Texas                   $44 billion
  • University of Virginia               $11 billion
  • Yale University                         $33 billion
  • Princeton University                 $26 billion
  • Mass, Inst. Of Technology        $19 billion
  • University of Pennsylvania       $16 billion
  • Texas A&M                               $14 billion
  • Notre Dame University             $14 billion
  • University of Michigan             $14 billion
  • Columbia University                 $13 billion  etc., etc.

In addition to those elite schools, the average of all universities was approximately $1.6 billion which is more than the GDP of many countries around the world.

The word “fairness” is bandied about, by mainly Democrats, but when it comes to taxing their politically Democrat strongholds, the colleges and universities, they are loathe to impose taxes on them. Why should they get a break when the average person and businesses are taxed to the hilt?

Let these colleges and universities pay their “fair share” instead of giving them a pass while they gouge the public with their outrageous tuition fees and hikes.

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