Magazine article Newsweek

Harvard's $400 Million Gift and the Widening College Donation Gap; A Huge Donation to Harvard from Billionaire John Paulson Points to an Increasing Gap in Which Colleges Get Gifts

Magazine article Newsweek

Harvard's $400 Million Gift and the Widening College Donation Gap; A Huge Donation to Harvard from Billionaire John Paulson Points to an Increasing Gap in Which Colleges Get Gifts

Article excerpt

Byline: Michele Richinick

Even though it's 379 years old, Harvard attracts some of the planet's brightest young minds. Despite being the world's wealthiest institution of higher education, with a $36.5 billion endowment, it is still quite a money magnet.

On June 3, the university received the largest gift in its history, from billionaire John Paulson. The Harvard Business School alum, who manages a New York-based hedge fund, gave $400 million to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), which last year had an endowment of about $990 million, 2.7 percent of the university's total.

Paulson's gift shines a spotlight on a pattern in Massachusetts and throughout the country: a widening gap in financial support between a handful of wealthy institutions and both public universities and other private colleges, says Richard Freeland, the commissioner of higher education for Massachusetts. "What's really unfortunate is the institutions that are serving so many of our people--just aren't being supported at a level which permits them to offer the quality of education that is appropriate for our young people."

Paulson's donation is about 3.45 times the total new gift commitments to the University of Massachusetts (UMass) system for fiscal year 2014.

Harvard's total enrollment of undergraduate, graduate and professional studies students last year was about 21,000 students. Registration in the UMass system was more than three times that--72,796. …

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