LAST WEEK, Kenneth Griffin, the founder and CEO of the investment firm Citadel, announced a gift of $150 million to Harvard University to subsidize financial aid. It’s not only Harvard that’s back in the money. A survey earlier this month showed that giving to colleges and universities was back at pre-recession levels, with a record $33.8 billion in charitable contributions during the 2013 fiscal year, almost a 10 percent increase over 2012. Most of this increase was, according to the survey by the Council for Aid to Education, “due to the rebounding in the stock market.”
This is great news for higher education but bad news for higher education reformers who have been hoping that the financial crunch might cause colleges to rethink their operating assumptions. It is no small irony that faculty tend to be anti-capitalist while the financial stability of their institutions depends heavily on the stock market. Alas, no matter how much college faculty bad-mouth the 1 percent, the wealthy seem to have a soft spot for the ivory tower.