Saturday, December 27, 2008
The global financial meltdown has been hitting private universities hard; several small colleges have announced their forthcoming closure, while others, like Beloit College, have fired faculty and staff in response to declining enrollment and shrinking endowments. Even Ivy League schools aren't immune: Yale has announced a $6 billion decline in its endowment, while the losses at my Alma Mater, if they are "marked to market," may exceed $18 billion - a sum roughly equal to the gross domestic product of Panama or Iceland. This is the sort of news that makes me glad I work for a public school, where we're more dependent on state appropriations and federal aid than foundation pay-outs and tuition. I can't even visualize eighteen billion dollars - though this web page may help my curious readers to do so.