Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is taking aim at college endowments and financial aid practices on the campaign trail.
In a September speech, Trump said he would work with Congress to demand that institutions with large endowments divert more money toward students or risk losing their tax-exempt status.
He criticized institutions with "multi-billion dollar endowments" for failing to help students fund their education. According to Inside Higher Ed, about 50 institutions have endowments that size. Another 50 may have endowments of $1 billion but no more than $2 billion.
"These universities use the money to pay their administrators, to put donors' names on their buildings, or just store the money, keep it and invest it," Trump said. "In fact, many universities spend more on private-equity fund managers than on tuition programs... But they should be using the money on students, for tuition, for student life and for student housing. That's what it's supposed to be for."
Congress critiques college endowments
Trump did not offer a detailed plan for tackling high tuition costs and student debt, but he said he would ask colleges to make a "good faith" effort to put reforms in place.
"The students are choking on those loans. They can't pay them back. Before they start, they're in trouble. And it's something I hear more and more and it's one of the things I hear more than anything else," he said (Hefling, Politico, 9/23; Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, 9/23; DelReal/Wagner, "Post Politics," Washington Post, 9/22).
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