Louisiana eyes endowment spending as salve for higher ed cuts
- A concept first broached by a former University of Virginia rector who challenged the amount of money spent helping students from university endowments has made its way to Louisiana, as lawmakers are considering increased tax benefits for donors who give to higher education as a means of decreasing the impact of legislative budget cuts.
- The Advocate reports that elected officials may reduce higher education spending by more than $60 million during a special session next week, adding to the more than $800 million in divestment the state has already seen over the last ten years.
- College officials argue that reallocating privately-raised dollars for operational expenses would reduce philanthropic outreach and would drain the state's $2.8 billion in collective public endowment funds, which would not place in the top 30 of single-school endowments in the country.
Colleges and universities facing similar challenges from state legislature should continue advocating in state houses, but should also use the funding trends as a rallying cry for private support. Funding cuts jeopardize opportunities to create the workforce, to address persistent challenges in social, medical and political advancement, and to create mobility for individuals.
For colleges to make the sell, they must lay out the data which presents a practical case for investment, and data which details where cuts to higher ed are being redirected.