Earlier this month, I was in New Haven, CT to talk about college admissions with a class of undergrads at Yale. The course on education policy and writing is taught by an old friend of mine, Jane Karr, a former editor at The New York Times.
Before the class, we had lunch at the Schwarzman Center
, named after the CEO of the Blackstone private equity group. Schwarzman donated $150 million in 2015 to his alma mater for the renovation of the university’s historic Commons and Memorial Hall. I’ve seen a lot of bells-and-whistles in the 20+ years I’ve been visiting campuses and the Schwarzman Center is definitely among the most lavish.
Yale, of course, sits on an endowment north of $31 billion.
During the pandemic, Yale and other really rich colleges just got richer. The Wall Street Journal recently reported
that large college endowments “notched their biggest investment gains in decades” last year.
Yale can offer lavish amenities, and hire star faculty, and give out generous financial aid to students. Later on in the class, one student mentioned how she received a much better financial-aid package from Yale compared to Rice University—a deciding factor in eventually coming to New Haven.
💵 $3,000: that’s the median net price for Yale students who applied for aid and come from families making less than $65,000.
💰 $5,700: that’s the median net price for Yale students from families in the next income band—up to $100,000.
That makes Yale a bargain
among most private colleges—and even most public institutions—where families around the $100,000 mark are expected to contribute significantly more toward the tuition bill. In 2017-18, the average net price
for families making between $75K and $110K at a private college was around $27,000; at a public it was $19,000.
When you look at the distribution of family incomes at many colleges, it looks like “a lollipop”—with lots of wealthier students at the top with fewer middle- and low-income undergrads making up the stem—Martin Kurzweil of Ithaka S+R, a nonprofit consultancy group, told me.
Because most colleges don’t sit on tens of billions of dollars in endowment like Yale does, they have to make trade-offs by either sacrificing revenue or socioeconomic diversity.
☕️Good morning, and thanks for reading NEXT.
If someone forwarded this to you, be among the more than 50,000 subscribers who get NEXT via email and LinkedIn every other week by signing up here.
🖥 At 2 p.m. ET Wednesday (11/17),
I’ll host a free NEXT Office Hour
exploring how to build the next generation post-secondary ecosystem. Joining me will those who have already designed new models: Charles Isabell
, dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, Marni Baker Stein
, provost at Western Governors University Ben Nelson
, founder and CEO, Minerva Project, Bridget Burns
, executive director, University Innovation Alliance.
🗣 A few weeks ago, I gave two “second edition” copies of my book away on Instagram. That contest is over, but I’m keeping one part of it open for the rest of this week: you can still enter
to join me on an “Ask Me Anything” Zoom call I’ll be doing later this month. Enter
and you’ll get the link via DM.