How Rich is “Too Rich”?

When The Curmudgeon gets an idea for a future subject for his blog he does a number of things with that idea.  If it’s very timely, he sits down and writes about it right away.  If it would be a contribution to a larger piece, such as running across a new verbification, he enters it immediately onto a running list of verbifications. If he runs across the idea while reading a newspaper or magazine he circles the subject in red, clips the article, and puts it in a folder.  If he reads about it online, he gets the web address of the piece and emails it to himself and then, when he receives it, puts it into an email folder labeled, not surprisingly, “Curmudgeon.”

Once in a while one of those little pieces of paper falls between the cracks  and he discovers it weeks, months, or even years after the fact.  Most of the time, the old pieces are now too old to write and he discards them with disappointment over letting a good idea get away.  But sometimes those older pieces are as relevant as they were a week, month, or year ago as they were the day he found them and are well worth writing about.

Like this one.

Two years ago The Curmudgeon read that Haverford College is planning to limit how much financial aid it provides in the future.  If you’re not familiar with Haverford, it’s a very small (about 1300 students) liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia and one of the best liberal arts schools in the country.  Early in his career The Curmudgeon hired college students for summer jobs doing research and writing and he found Haverford students to be head and shoulder above those from other area schools – better than Swarthmore students, better than Bryn Mawr students, and better than students from the much-ballyhooed and vastly overrated University of Pennsylvania that it was The Curmudgeon’s misfortune to attend.

So what’s the big deal about a small liberal arts college deciding that it needs to limit the financial aid it gives deserving students?

Pretty soon they’ll need to pass the collection plate

Here’s the big deal:  the school’s endowment – the money it raises from donors, mostly alumni, and that’s sitting in a general fund, being invested and earning money while not targeted to any specific use – is $500 million.

Which means the Haverford administrators and trustees behind this idea have decided that when you only have a half-billion dollars in the bank it’s time to do some belt-tightening.

 

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