When I see the salaries colleges pay their lobbyists, trade association administrators and top college and university administrators, I’m amazed that so many people still donate to colleges. And I’m also amazed by the people who think so-called nonprofits operate without a profit motive. With many nonprofits, it’s just that the profits go to those who run the enterprise as opposed to the shareholders.
What precipitated this response was a story in today’s edition of Inside Higher Ed about the compensation heads of higher ed trade associations are pulling down.
You have to remind yourself that many of the colleges that are indirectly funding this lavish compensation structure are struggling financially themselves. Some are even on the steady, downhill path to their own demise (likely in the next five to 10 years). It’s not that they can afford it. Yet they pay their chiefs extremely well, even as the deferred maintenance on their home fronts continues to mount and enrollment and net tuition revenue continue to fall.
Who funds this extravagance? Students. Parents. Donors. And you and me–the U.S. taxpayers, via massive government subsidies, including tax benefits that go to institutions (including the wealthy ones) and their donors (including the wealthy ones) and that diminish the public coffers and increase the burden on those who do pay taxes.
The fact that we tax people who make minimum wage or who have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet to finance subsidies that flow to wealthy institutions like Harvard, Yale, Washington & Lee and others is a testament to the job higher ed’s lobbyists are doing, I suppose.
This is just one of the reasons I don’t donate to colleges anymore. I’d much rather support the students directly and cut out the middle man (those who are laughing all the way to the bank).