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September 25, 2013

Opinion: Taxpayers Help Finance Harvard's Fundraising Drive

Harvard University's record $6.5-billion capital campaign will benefit from an effective government subsidy of more than $2.1-billion in the form of tax deductions for donors, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education opinion piece.

Kevin Carey, a contributor to the publication's The Conversation blog, said the tax breaks implicitly support an institution that already has a large endowment, to the detriment of other nonprofit groups, and perpetuates a "shadow admissions-preference market" for the children of wealthy donors.

At a time of declining government support for higher education, Mr. Carey writes, this "gross misallocation of public resources" diverts money "from government services far more likely to help those in need or from nonprofit services far more likely to help those in need."