Feature

When wealthy colleges cry poverty

College life is an orgy of irrational spending, said<strong> </strong>Eric Gibson in <em>The Wall Street </em><em>Journal, </em>but "in spite of this, universities are still crying poor."<em>&lt

Eric GibsonThe Wall Street Journal

The economic crisis has reached the ivory tower, said Eric Gibson. At private universities nationwide, the stock market crash has sent endowments plummeting. Proud Harvard has seen its $36.9 billion nest egg shrink by more than $7 billion in just three months. College administrators are warning of hiring freezes and financial-aid cuts, and a few are even talking about tuition increases. Can they be serious? As the father of a prospective freshman, “I’ve been getting a tutorial in college costs. And what an education it has been.” For years, college tuitions have been rising far faster than inflation, and a bachelor’s degree at a private liberal arts school can now cost nearly $250,000. Presidents of many top-tier schools earn more than a million dollars annually. College life itself is an orgy of irrational spending, with libraries and gyms open around the clock, and cafeterias offering every variety of cuisine imaginable. “In spite of this, universities are still crying poor.” That’s a laugh. Perhaps they’ll get real when recession-battered parents start saying no to $40,000 tuitions, and send their kids to public colleges.

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