What a great idea


"You don't know what Hell is, until you're grown up in Scarsdale" [actual quote]

“You don’t know what Hell is, until you’re grown up in Scarsdale” [actual quote]

Redistribute the Ivy League’s endowment funds to “spread the wealth”.Their parents might object, but surely the students will roar in delight as they show their solidarity with “the other 99%”. Hoorah!

The eight Ivy League schools have less than 1 percent of U.S. college students but almost 17 percent of all endowment money. The top 3 percent of schools ranked by endowment size have more than half the funds. Five schools (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford University and one public institution, the University of Texas) had endowment increases last year of more than $1 billion, exceeding the total endowment of more than 90 percent of the schools (including virtually all the larger ones) publicly disclosing information.

Do rich schools use their wealth to promote upward economic mobility by disproportionately accepting low-income students? No — just the opposite. I took the 10 highest-endowed schools and looked at the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants, then compared that with the 10 lowest-endowed schools in a survey by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Most Pell Grant students come from below-average-income households. In the highly endowed schools, a median of 16 percent of students received Pells, compared with 59 percent at the lowest-endowed institutions.

A student graduating from Yale or Princeton, with their roughly $2 million endowments per student, has a ticket to a well-paying job, while one graduating from the College of St. Josephin Vermont, with its $29,000 endowment per student, does not. Only 12 percent of the Yale and Princeton students have Pells, compared with 71 percent at St. Joseph.

The federal government subsidizes this academic aristocracy (made more exclusive by elite highly endowed schools giving admission preferences for children of alumni) in several ways. Big endowments such as Harvard’s probably often reap at least $1 billion annually from capital gains. They pay no income taxes on those gains; individuals pay 23.8 percent. They also pay no income taxes on dividend and interest income. The donations that form the endowments are deductible against donor income taxes, giving rich people the incentive to give to their already rich colleges, which in turn give preferences to alumni children.


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39 responses to “What a great idea

  1. TheWizard

    This gets filed under the “do as we say, not as we do” category.

  2. Riverside

    This is actually a very interesting concept – and not just because it exposes the hypocrisy of the elitists. These endowments have gotten so large that the school that have them can offer full rides and astronomical comp packages for the best students and teachers, etc. And this is limited to only a handful of elite school. Monopoly power in effect (by this I don’t mean that college education will not be available at other institutions, but just that the others will not be able to complete for top talent or professors.)

    So why is this power being subsidized by taxpayers? It makes no sense.

  3. Anonymous

    I like it…its not as if it is going to change so I would like to see extreme disparity sooner rather than later and then manhattan will look like Kiev

  4. Take a look at what is going on here in Greenwich.
    Nouveau Gauche Organizations dominate politics here.
    Birds first, kids are guilty by being born, drug overdose is big pharma’s fault, and on and on…Ivies have done wondrous contributions to our wonderful country and will continue to.
    Our Town used to too.
    Restore a sense of place and purpose to make life better for all, not round table brain train to “educate” our children to navigate through the maze to get on the pork dole roll.
    Restore independence here first.
    Ivies will follow success.

  5. Walt

    Dude –

    So with only a few days to go, we are atop the medal count with a total of 25. The Boris Putininskies have 23. Suck it YOU COMMIES!! The sardine loving Norwegians have the most gold’s, with 10. They really do love their snow. We have 8 gold’s, one more than the heathen sputniks.

    The Canadian women’s hockey team licked our girls in a heartbreaker yesterday. But today – TODAY!! – we get to seek our revenge on these northern snowmen, when Team USA plays a semifinal match at noon. So as long as we beat them in men’s hockey, which is really the only one that should count, we can declare victory.

    Your Pal,

  6. Joey

    I am not sure what to do with the disparity in endowments. People give money to the schools, there is no reason to stop that. However I think we should start treating education like a business or some sort of quasi business. Allow tax free donations but tax dividends and capital gains on the extras. Also tax all income of the institutions. I don’t think it is right for these guys (all schools that is) to whore themselves like the private sector and then hide behind the the veil of tax free status because they are providing a public good. If they want to be growing businesses then they have to pay taxes like everyone else.

  7. Anonymous

    People give their $ to these “elite” schools and other non profits because they believe that the product they render is worthwhile. They do it of their free will and thought. Redistribution is wrong, centrally planned with someone else knowing what is better use of my $ than I know. Make no mistake about it there is a movement to take control of all donations. In NYC there is a movement to redistribute Central Park Conservancy $ to other underfunded parks. In California they are trying make push for a law requiring foundations to give 50% of their gifts to minority groups. These kind of movements will only cause people to stop donating.

    • Libertarian Advocate

      These kind of movements will only cause people to stop donating.

      Exactly. But that is something the oh so brilliant and ironically mostly ivy league educated proggies can’t wrap their heads around. Maybe not the smartest guys in the room after all?

  8. Art layton

    I wonder what percentage of top CEOs went to Ivy League schools, or what percentage of Congress went to Ivy League Schools? I expect it will be very low.

    • FF

      HARVARD Senate Republicans: Michael D. Crapo, J.D. ’77 (Id.); *Pat Toomey ’84 (Pa.); David Vitter ’83 (La.).

      Senate Democrats: Jeff Bingaman ’65 (N.M.); *Richard Blumenthal ’67 (Conn.); Al Franken ’73 (Minn.); Herbert H. Kohl, M.B.A. ’58 (Wisc.); Carl Levin, LL.B. ’59 (Mich.); John F. (Jack) Reed, M.P.P. ’73, J.D. ’82 (R.I.); John D. Rockefeller IV ’58 (W.Va.); Charles E. Schumer ’71, J.D. ’74 (N.Y.); Mark R. Warner, J.D. ’80 (Va.).

      House Republicans: Thomas E. Petri ’62, LL.B. ’65 (Wisc.); *Michael R. Pompeo, J.D. ’94 (Kans.)

      House Democrats: John Barrow, J.D. ’79 (Ga.); Gerry Con­nolly, M.P.A. ’79 (Va.); James H. Cooper, J.D. ’80 (Tenn.); Barney Frank ’61, G ’62-’68, J.D. ’77 (Mass.); John Garamendi, M.B.A. ’70 (Calif.); Jane Harman, J.D. ’69 (Calif.); Brian Higgins, M.P.A. ’96 (N.Y.); Jim Himes ’88 (Conn.); Ron Kind ’85 (Wisc.); James R. Langevin, M.P.A. ’94 (R.I.); Sander M. Levin, LL.B. ’57 (Mich.); Stephen F. Lynch, M.P.A. ’99 (Mass.); James D. Matheson ’82 (Utah); John P. Sarbanes, J.D. ’88 (Md.); Adam B. Schiff, J.D. ’85 (Calif.); Robert C. Scott ’69 (Va.); *Terri Sewell, J.D. ’92 (Ala.); Bradley J. Sherman, J.D. ’79 (Calif.); Christopher Van Hollen Jr., M.P.P. ’85 (Md.); David Wu, M ’81 (Ore.).

      Blow your mind, Chris that “your” Congressman, Senator and President are all part of this august group?

      • Libertarian Advocate

        FF: from the perspective of many people, the names you list are major part of the problem. After it was Harvard guy Larry Summers who persuaded Yale law grad, Billy J. Clinton, to permit the banksters to use the now universally reviled credit default swap that very nearly killed the economy in 2008. John Adams cautioned against a tightly knit elite running the country. Seems to me his admonition was prescient and entirely correct.

  9. JJM

    Great Article on socialism in the classroom.


    Since posting this story in 2013, the left simply won’t leave it alone. Something about it strikes a chord and they have to lash out at it, even though it’s a story.

    An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

    The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”.. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

    After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

    The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

    To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that.

    These are possibly the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read on this experiment:

    You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
    What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
    The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
    You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!.
    When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

    What I am reading now is liberals, progressives or those that dismiss the STORY because it’s a scenario and not real. They can’t cope with the real truth that you can’t move poor people into prosperity by legislation from Washington, DC. Government doesn’t have the authority to take from Citizen A and give to Citizen B to make things even.

  10. AJ

    Think the Right is going to save you, think again.

    ‘Missouri Republican: Common Core skeptics are paranoid lunatics, should wear tin foil hats’

    “Skeptical that the national Common Core standards will improve the quality of education in local schools? Then you must be a lunatic conspiracy theorist — at least according to Missouri State Rep. Mike Lair, a Republican, who set aside $8 — yes, $8 — in a recent appropriations bill to buy tin foil hats for opponents of the Common Core.

    The hats will protect them from the aliens that Lair assumes they must believe in.

    It may sound unbelievable, but it’s right there in the appropriations bill, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. The $8 will be used to buy ”two rolls of high density aluminum to create headgear designed to deflect drone and/or black helicopter mind reading and control …”


  11. AJ

    No wonder the liberals hate this story, one so simple that even the most dumbed down can get the point. One can only imagine what the libtards think of Aesop’s “The Ant and the Grasshopper” and “‎The Tortoise and the Hare”, hateful stories that have survived the test of time.

  12. Tokenekebozo

    The Ivies don’t exist to provide upward mobility. They exist to prevent downward mobility. Look at the number of legacy admits.

  13. NoGolfToday

    I don’t see the problem. It’s a kill or be killed world. Winners win. Simple as that. No degrees at Harvard are given away, yes some are bought, but companies looking to hire graduates look at their transcript, gpa, class rank etc. The hardest working, most talented, and successful candidates get the best jobs.
    People spend a fortune so their kids might be able to make one.
    Sounds fair to me.

    I friend of mine has 3 kids, both parents went to ivy under grad, and went on to get MBA’s at Harvard.
    Their oldest has been in Brunswick since diapers, but has no shot of following in his parents footsteps.
    A 3.7 and less than perfect SAT’s just won’t cut it
    Doesn’t matter where his parents went.
    The kid is just a loaf.

  14. Anonymous works

    Not quite sure how this analysis works. When endowments are high a college has more discretion over their aid packages; I believe that Princeton has a no-loan policy, grants and scholarships available, to eliminate student loan burden after one graduates. It would seem that the low percentage of Pell grant holders would show that the universities – which cost more than the less prestigious schools cited- are using their endowment to help finance the cost of tuition. In fact, Harvard just received its largest single gift last week, I think it was $150million, and it is specifically earmarked for financial aid. I think when the percentage of Pell Grant students is low, rather than proving there is a high percentage of legacy (which, I believe, is not necessarily spelled d-u-m- b) students, it can actually show that a private university is functioning efficiently, and using its endowment to help with the cost of
    tuition – so the fewer number of pell grants, the more efficient the institution and the more economically independent it is – what institution wants government grants when they can self support? And Smart universities treat freshman as eventually contributing alumni, and works hard to even out financial issues. The large donation at Harvard, and two recent major gifts that I can recall at Yale, came from people who earned their fortune after graduation, and were not legacy admits.

  15. armonk

    Every member of the US Supreme Court graduated either from Harvard or Yale Law School.