School Size and Endowment

<p>I'm wondering why schools with the greatest endowment don't necessarily have proportionally large undergraduate schools. State schools normally have a huge student population and a huge endowment, but a school like Harvard has a huge endowment and a significantly smaller student population. What are some major reasons that contribute to that? Does a school like Harvard really invest that much more into each individual student's education (smaller class size, smaller faculty:student ratio, research opportunity, etc.)? Are some schools just not able to expand because of actual, physical limitations? I noticed that there are many private universities that are located near or in cities, where the amount of money per acre could be significantly more than say, PSU-University Park's campus, which is in the middle of nowhere. Is this generalization valid? Are private universities situated in 'expensive' areas more so than public ones?</p>

** State schools normally have a huge student population and a huge endowment


<p>Call me uninformed but I was not aware of state schools having huge endowments.....</p>

<p>Sorry, I was making more of a generalization there. I meant to use PSU as an example but didn't clarify. My point is that state schools with less money (endowment and budget) have more students.</p>

<p>Private schools use money from their endowments to supplement the cost of tuition. No student at a private school pays the true cost of attendance. Maybe what you are really asking is why don't public schools raise their tuition as they don't have a large endowment to offset the cost of tuition? I know you asked about population but in fact the demand cycle for college spaces is not always as high as it currently is. I mean if you look at the population and demand you may understand a little bit more about the answer.</p>

<p>KRabble - good for you for trying to figure this out. But I think you may be confusing some terms. What are you thinking "endowment" is?</p>

<p>A couple of points for starters. Endowments are largely a function of alumni and other benefactor donations. There was a very long period of time when many public U's never really went after alumni donations in the same way as privates always have (except maybe from the football boosters ;) ). Also, public institutions rely to varying, but traditionally great, extent on taxpayers to fund education costs. Private schools don't tap into taxpayer funds at all.</p>

<p>Those things might help you start thinking about this issue.</p>

<p>You premise is correct......state schools have less money for operating, less in endowment and more students. They frequently cost less in tuition also. Are you trying to compare why they charge less and operate on less? If you remember that state legislatures set the budgets and such you may get a clear picture. Citizens don't compel the legislatures to support the schools at any higher level because they don't want to raise their tax obligation. State schools are just that.........accountable to and dependent on the state.</p>

<p>A couple of different points. First, a lot of endowment is earmarked for specific purposes, e.g., for endowed professorships or programs, or for research or buildings and labs, and do not directly impact undergrad students. But larger endowments by some privates as well as publics contribute potentially in one area that matters a lot to people in my profession: salaries and fringe benefits of faculty. Even without changing average class size or faculty-student ratios, for example, a school can spend a lot more or a lot less on salaries depending on how competitively it wishes to play in the academic marketplace.</p>

<p>Second, although state school budgets do indeed depend substantially on legislative authorization, the state budget's contributions to operating expenses of their universities have been declining steadily over the last few decades. In Michigan, at the best of the large universities, the state provides less than half of the operating revenues. The rest comes primarily from tuition and fees, grants and contracts, and endowment (annual fund contributions plus endowment income). Some state u's have a fair amount of "independent taxing aurhority," i.e., they set their own tuition rates; for others those rates are set by the state legislature and governor or some other central authority. However, it is fair to say that increasingly public universities have had to focus on their own fundraising and tuition, and less on the state legislature, to maintain and improve the quality of their product.</p>

<p>Both Harvard and Princeton have plans in the works to increase the size of the undergraduate population, but they'll both remain very small relative to public schools with large endowments like Texas. They are growing for specific reasons that have to do with long-term institutional goals (in Harvard's case, they want room to take more international students and more engineers). Because the standards on these campuses as far as housing, opportunities, etc., are so high, growth has to be slow and controlled in order to ensure that individual students' experiences are not diluted.</p>

<p>Thanks for the info!</p>

<p>What's the difference between a state school and a public school (if there is one)?</p>

<p>State school/university/college=public school/university/college.</p>

<p>Olin = very small student body + very big endowment</p>

<p>just a hypothesis, but there is probably no correlation between endowment size and school population size. </p>

<p>some big schools are rich, some aren't. some small schools are rich, some aren't. some private schools are rich, some aren't. some public schools are... rich i guess, most aren't (but this is mostly offset by state funding). </p>

<p>endowment depends on many key factors. of significant importance, THE SCHOOL WAS HERE FIRST! it takes generations of alumni to build up a school's endowment, unless it has some really rich individuals. but it also takes alumni willingness to donate, and that varies drastically. also, prestige or quality is not necessarily correlated with endowment size either. </p>

<p>it is hard to measure how much of the endowment actually goes to students (especially since many endowments are tagged to certain things that they pay for). one thing to look out for though: if you see a school with construction, then that probably means the school is at least somewhat wealthy, or at least to the extent that it can expand.</p>

<p>refer you wiki's "land grant college" </p>

<p>basically the public schools were "endowed" by land and there after funded by the state legistature which replaced the "land endowment."</p>