Billions of taxpayer dollars could be helping to fund private universities and Ivy League schools which are already sitting on an inflated endowment.
According to a report compiled by the non-profit group Open the Books, America's Ivy League colleges’ payments and entitlements cost taxpayers more than $41 billion over a six-year period from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2015. This is equivalent to $120,000 per student in government aid or $6.93 billion per year.
House Ways and Means Committee Member Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) is looking to hold universities accountable, suggesting the schools can afford to take some of the burden off taxpayers.
“All we are asking is that this money go to working families in tuition reduction on the investment income that comes off these billions of dollars in a tax-free manner,” Reed said during an interview on FOX Business’ “After the Bell.”
The New York congressman said the Ivy League schools’ argument is that taxpayer money allows their institutions to grow and become stronger.
“At the end of the day, they [Ivy League schools] have to be able to be on their own two feet because if they become self-sustainable, those resources could be allocated to our tech schools and they can be allocated to our community colleges,” Reed said.
As a sitting member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Reed said reducing the cost of college tuition is a top priority for him, an issue President Trump supported while on the campaign trail.
"What a lot of people don’t know is that universities get massive tax breaks for their massive endowments," Trump told supporters at a rally in Pennsylvania in September 2016. “These huge, multi-billion dollar endowments are tax-free, but too many of these universities don’t use the money to help with the tuition and student debt.”
Rep. Reed said he wants to aim the spotlight on how colleges spending the money and if they are committed to reducing the cost of tuition.
“It’s time for the hard-working taxpayer families to be the people we stand with, not these large multi-billion dollar endowments that are accumulating tax-free dollars,” he said.