Pressure to Spend More on Poor Students

Rick Seltzer, Inside Higher Ed, Aug 04, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

What this article shows most clearly is that there is no end to the reasons the rich can give to justify keeping their wealth to themselves. In this case, the proposal is that universities with large endowments could top their spending from endowment funds to reach the  5 percent minimum spending benchmark required of private nonprofit foundations. This money could add hundreds of millions of dollars of assistance to poor students. But, ah, no. "They ignore that access and affordability are only part of the equation that schools are dealing with when they’re trying to meet their public purpose." Well, no. Rather the contrary - we realize exactly that, and suggest that access and affordability ought to rank far higher in these institutions' priorities than they currently do, as suggested by this new report (12 page PDF). Or, as also suggested, maybe we'll start taxing them and spending the money on actual social priorities, rather than on new polo fields.

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