Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A proposal that would grant the federal government regulatory powers over college endowments is gaining support in Congress and sparking opposition from many colleges, including UF.

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., proposed two amendments this week during the House of Representatives' debate on the Higher Education Act.

One amendment would require institutions to pay at least 5 percent of their endowments each year to reduce college costs for students. The other would mandate colleges to report annually how much of their endowments was used and how the money was spent.

Though Welch withdrew the first proposal, it generated discussion among legislators and college administrators about how much power Congress should have over endowment assets.

Welch's suggestions were triggered by a proposal from Sens. Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley of the Senate Finance Committee, which would require "wealthy" colleges to spend at least 5 percent of their endowments or lose tax exemptions on their endowment earnings.

UF earned the No. 61 spot out of 785 universities for the value of its 2007 endowment assets, which was $1.2 billion, according to a study by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

But even with endowments of more than $1 billion, UF does not qualify as a wealthy institution, said Leslie Bram, vice president of the UF Foundation, the organization in charge of UF's investments.

"There's a very large difference between $1.3 (billion) and $35 billion, which is what Harvard has," Bram said.

She said a required payout would not affect UF students because the university's endowments are donor-restricted, meaning money goes to UF programs chosen by the donors.

Welch's other amendment, requiring the annual endowment report, would be no problem, Bram said.

But she said she ultimately hopes the senators will back down from the legislation.

"It doesn't make sense to pick and choose among the endowments," she said. "But it doesn't make sense in the first place."

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox
Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.