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U endowment reaches $2.8 billion in 2007

From the Daily:

The University's endowment fund grew to $2.8 billion dollars in 2007, a 26 percent change from the year before, according to a study released Thursday by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Among Big Ten schools, the University's endowment fund is the third largest, after the University of Michigan and Northwestern University, $7 and $6.5 billion respectively.

In response to the study, leaders of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa and Max Baucus, D-Mont. sent a letter to the 136 schools with the largest endowment.

The senators charged the schools to increase endowment spending in order to make tuition more affordable for lower- and middle-income families.

University officials were not immediately available for comment Friday.

26% of 2.8 billion dollars is, could that be 728 million dollars? My goodness, who would have thought this, after what we have been hearing out of Morrill Hall lately? We are ranked second in the BigTen (excluding NU) among public universities, following only Michigan. What good news for those following rankings. Maybe some of this bounty could be used for strategic investment rather than bleeding departments and colleges. Tuition relief, anyone?

The administrative response is predictable, but it had better be quick if the PR campaign for more funding from the legislature is to be credible. These numbers are not going to help in that effort. It does not seem to be in the university's best interest to attempt a large tuition increase next year as they appear to be contemplating.

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