With our most prestigious universities sitting on huge endowments which are growing ever fatter, Senator Grassley is proposing they be forced to spend this tax free income to lower tuition. Naturally, they are resisting the notion:
In recent weeks, a string of colleges and universities have announced enviable investment results. Leading the way was Yale, which earned 28 percent over the year ending June 30, increasing the school's endowment to $22.5 billion overall.
Harvard, the world's wealthiest university with $34.9 billion, beat the market again with a 23 percent return. There also were good returns for smaller schools such as Bowdoin (24.4 percent) and William & Mary (19.2 percent).
But while those numbers were coming out, some members of the Senate Finance Committee in Washington were wondering aloud why the rise in endowments isn't stemming tuition increases. At a hearing last month, lawmakers batted around the idea of forcing at least some of the wealthier colleges to spend more savings on reducing costs.
"Senators, what would your constituents say if gasoline cost $9.15 a gallon?" Lynne Munson, an adjunct fellow at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity in Washington told the committee. "Or if the price of milk was over $15? That is how much those items would cost if their price had gone up at the same rate that tuition has since 1980.
Personally, I think it's a great and overdue idea.