Wealthy Colleges and Universities Get Wealthier and Educate the Wealthiest Students

A recent article appearing in Inside Higher Ed. reports that wealthier institutions keep getting wealthier — in part because they receive federal and state support that supplements their large endowments. Public colleges and universities, which educate a large majority of working class and middle class students, need federal and state support to fulfill their educational missions and do not generally carry large endowments. The article notes:

The Century Foundation found in 2013 that for every 14 wealthy students at the most elite and selective colleges, there was one low-income student.

In short, the wealth gap not only creates inequities among universities, but also among the students they serve.

“The students who are able to go to these wealthy institutions will have extraordinary resources devoted to them, relative to the students who are everywhere else,” said Ronald Ehrenberg, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.

Among the findings of the Nexus Research and Policy Center report, Rich Schools, Poor Students:Tapping Large University Endowments to Improve Student Outcomes, is the following reported in the Inside Higher Ed. article:

Princeton University’s endowment tax advantage was $105,000 per student in 2013, a sum that far surpassed the $12,300 in per-student public appropriations received by Rutgers University or the $2,400 per student received by nearby Essex Community College, according to Nexus.


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