The $500 Million Club in Higher Ed
A new report we’ve released today shows that just 3.6 percent of colleges and universities — 138 in all — held a whopping 75 percent of all postsecondary endowment wealth in 2013. Because these institutions, which we dub the “$500 million club,” benefit tremendously from their endowments (e.g., no required spending threshold and tax exemption), we also looked to see how well they are serving low-income students.
Disappointingly, nearly half of institutions in the “$500 million club” enroll so few Pell Grant recipients that they are in the bottom 5 percent of all institutions nationally for low-income student enrollment. And nearly 4 in 5 institutions don’t make it very affordable for the low-income students they enroll.
The report, A Glimpse Inside the Coffers, includes much more on endowment spending at the nation’s wealthiest universities and explains how increasing spending by just a small fraction of a percentage point could generate millions more in extra revenue that could be used to enroll more low-income students and reduce the price these students pay.