Question of the day: what do all the nice liberal folks who work at America's elite colleges and universities think about their employers' huge, and growing, endowments? An angry op-ed in the LA Times provides some background on the endowments:
Stanford University is sitting on an endowment of $15.2 billion. Harvard's is nearly twice that. In 2004, the endowments of the 10 richest American universities were worth $78 billion . . .
Endowments have grown considerably since then. In fiscal year 2006 alone, the top 25 university endowments grew an average of about 16%. . . .
As part of Stanford's campaign, its graduate business school is seeking a stunning $500 million, half of that for the new campus. (The current one is pretty nice.) The school also wants $30 million for student financial aid.
But if these wealthy universities won't tap their endowments to provide adequate financial aid for law and MBA students, why should alumni and other donors fill the gap? It may make sense to subsidize students who are going into public interest law because of their relatively low earning potential, but it's another thing to make taxpayers (through deductions) subsidize law students who will earn starting salaries of $150,000 a year at big law firms or MBA students who will go to work for Goldman Sachs.