Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Wealth Gap" an understatement

A recent NYTimes article points out the growing gap between the endowments of American universities.

A quote that captures the ridiculousness of Harvard's $35 billion endowment:

"But Harvard could buy and sell a number of small countries around the globe," he said. "It could pay the tuition of all its undergraduates, and its endowment would still grow."

Harvard and a bunch of other Ivy leagues recently announced they were eliminating tuition for students whose parents make under a certain amount of money.

It was a big deal last year when GW's endowment surpasses $1 billion.

But that article points out that GW's student-to-endowment ratio is embarrassingly small: $75,000 per student at GW vs $200... ahem... million, per student at Princeton.

President Knapp acknowledged at a recent forum that GW is in a catch-22: the university can't take money out of its endowment for financial aid because it is too small, so it must increase tuition... creating the need for more financial aid, creating the need to raise tuition more...

And it's any wonder we're the most expensive university in the country/world.

I would like GW to say in more detail how it plans to increase the endowment, since it seems like that is the only way it can't stop increasing tuition.

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