Elsewhere online
May 05, 2016

Taxing Big College Endowments Gains Traction on Capitol Hill

The Wall Street Journal reports on the growing Congressional chorus calling for using wealthy universities’ fast-growing, tax-exempt investment funds to put the brakes on skyrocketing tuition and student debt. Republican House members have floated plans in recent months to tax private colleges’ investment returns or require the richest institutions to channel a set portion of their gains into student aid.

“College costs have outpaced health-care inflation, and at the same time, there’s this benefit for endowments,” said Rep. Peter Roskam, chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight. Mr. Roskam and two GOP colleagues have asked 56 institutions with $1 billion-plus endowments to submit detailed information about their portfolios, spending, and policies regarding large donations. Universities say taxing endowment gains would impair their ability to meet their charitable and academic missions.