Why Harvard Raising a Record-Breaking $7 Billion Is Bad News for US Education

Quartz: “Harvard University has raised $7 billion, since its fundraising campaign began in 2013… For the majority of US higher education, however, Harvard’s record is bad news. There are two ways to explain why.”

“Harvard’s campaign is extending the streak of large philanthropic donations given to already very wealthy universities, who pay no tax on their endowments or on the gains they make by investing the endowment money. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), ‘about half of US endowment wealth is held by two dozen schools enrolling 5% of the roughly 20 million students attending American colleges and universities.’”

“Another way to understand why Harvard’s record is bad news for US higher education is through an argument put forth by the writer Malcolm Gladwell in his podcast Revisionist History. He says that philanthropists who donate to poorer institutions are likely to going to get a lot more bang for the same buck.”

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  • BMc

    Not to be a pain, but 7% interest on 7 billion is 420 million for the 1st year, which nearly covers tuition & room and board for the 6,700 students at Harvard. I have always been confused why schools like Harvard, Yale, Brown, etc. charge tuition? With endowments in the tens of billions, these schools can cover tuition for all their undergraduates out of their interest/earnings, and still build their endowments.
    I have to wonder what they feel their mission is??

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