THUMBS DOWN: Are College Endowments Going to Good Use?

Physician's Money Digest, April 2006, Volume 13, Issue 4

Wall Street

Journal

When it comes to charitable giving,many physicians spread their wealth totheir alma mater. But is your contributionjust being tossed on a growingstockpile of money that the school isn'tusing? According to the , higher education receivesaround $24 billion in donations eachyear, but most wealthy colleges are onlyspending less than 5% of it. The endowmentsurplus of Harvard Universityalone is nearly $26 billion, with $590million more added during 2005. Intheir defense, the schools insist that theyneed to be cautious with spending theirmoney for the sake of future generationsin case of an economic downturn. Theyalso state that the funds go toward studentgrants, funding beneficial research,and expanding their undergraduate studentbody. Still, the mammoth surplusesof these schools have cynical donatorsgiving their money to other causes theydeem more in need.