Finance

If Republicans Get Their Way, These Colleges Would See Their Endowments Taxed

November 02, 2017

Updated (12/5/2017, 11:31 a.m.) to include how both the House's original and final versions of the bill and the Senate’s bill would affect colleges’ investment income.

In their sweeping plans to rework the tax code, Congressional Republicans have floated a new strategy for raising revenue: Tax college endowments.

Some college endowments, that is.

Deep within the plans — that passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in November, and the Senate’s bill, which passed early Saturday — is the language that spells out which institutions would be affected. The bottom line: Only the most-affluent colleges need worry.

In the House’s original vision for the bill, colleges would have been subject to the tax, set at 1.4 percent of net investment income, only if their endowment assets total at least $100,000 per student. The House later raised that threshold to $250,000 per student. The Senate’s bill would raise the bar further, affecting only those colleges with endowment assets of at least $500,000 per student.

There are further caveats. We’re talking about just private institutions here; public colleges and universities would be exempt. Institutions with fewer than 500 students would be exempt, too.

How many colleges does that leave? In the first House proposal, about 140, according to a Chronicle analysis. The bill passed by the House lowered that number to about 61, according to the same analysis. In the Senate’s bill, about 27 colleges would be affected. Reconciling the two provisions will be the work of a conference committee expected to meet in the coming weeks; President Trump is then expected to sign some version of the two bills into law.

We took the 2014 end-of-year endowment numbers at private colleges that met the enrollment threshold, and checked them against their 2015 enrollment figures, counting all full-time students. Below you’ll find a list of the 200 institutions with the most assets per student.

There’s a bit of wiggle room in the numbers: Both proposals would target endowments valued at a certain amount per student without specifying whether all for-credit students or just undergraduates would be counted, for example.

Should the House’s plan become law, four colleges could thank the 500-student enrollment cutoff for sparing them the tax. Soka University of America, which has a $1-billion endowment but only 400-some students, would avoid the tax. So would Sweet Briar College. In 2015, when the women’s college nearly closed its doors for good, it still had about $250,000 in endowment value for each of its roughly 300 students.

A New Collegiate Tax Bracket?

This chart shows the 200 private institutions with enrollments of 500 or more, ranked by the value of their endowment per student. Institutions marked in yellow would have endowments subject to taxation under the $100,000 threshold established in the House’s original proposal. Institutions marked in green would have endowments subject to taxation under the plan the House eventually passed. Institutions marked in blue would have endowments subject to taxation under both plans.

InstitutionEndowment value (2014)Full-time enrollment (2015)Endowment value per student
Princeton University $20,576,361,000 8,013 $2,567,872
Yale University $23,858,561,000 12,250 $1,947,638
Harvard University $36,429,256,000 20,568 $1,771,162
Stanford University $21,466,006,000 15,778 $1,360,502
Pomona College $2,101,461,000 1,651 $1,272,841
Amherst College $2,149,202,662 1,795 $1,197,327
Swarthmore College $1,876,669,000 1,571 $1,194,570
Massachusetts Institute of Technology $12,425,131,000 11,181 $1,111,272
Grinnell College $1,829,521,000 1,665 $1,098,811
Williams College $2,143,152,951 2,135 $1,003,819
California Institute of Technology $2,118,100,000 2,255 $939,290
Rice University $5,553,717,000 6,472 $858,114
Wellesley College $1,834,137,000 2,344 $782,482
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art $717,628,100 938 $765,062
Dartmouth College $4,468,219,698 6,236 $716,520
Berea College $1,137,222,000 1,592 $714,335
Washington and Lee University $1,477,923,000 2,169 $681,385
Bowdoin College $1,216,030,000 1,794 $677,832
University of Notre Dame $8,189,096,000 12,122 $675,557
University of Richmond $2,313,305,000 3,558 $650,170
Smith College $1,755,755,134 2,775 $632,705
Emory University $6,981,307,921 12,383 $563,782
Washington University in St. Louis $6,719,449,000 12,664 $530,595
Bryn Mawr College $839,226,000 1,616 $519,323
Claremont McKenna College $699,493,000 1,348 $518,912
Trinity University (Tex.)
$1,187,928,689 2,350 $505,502
University of Chicago $6,539,289,712 12,980 $503,797
Hamilton College (N.Y.) $927,520,000 1,862 $498,131
Duke University $7,036,776,000 15,183 $463,464
University of Pennsylvania $9,582,335,000 21,563 $444,388
Northwestern University $7,501,116,000 17,185 $436,492
Berry College $925,698,267 2,128 $435,009
Middlebury College $1,081,893,682 2,516 $430,005
Wabash College $371,229,584 867 $428,177
Vassar College $974,179,926 2,421 $402,387
Colby College $740,631,000 1,857 $398,832
Haverford College $490,699,895 1,233 $397,972
Carleton College $792,737,205 1,997 $396,964
Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion $404,998,859 1,028 $393,968
Columbia University $9,223,047,000 23,525 $392,053
Reed College $524,943,103 1,394 $376,573
Davidson College $647,919,787 1,784 $363,184
Denison University $799,108,339 2,252 $354,844
Whitman College $504,524,000 1,430 $352,814
Macalester College $749,550,000 2,138 $350,585
Harvey Mudd College $283,696,431 815 $348,094
Vanderbilt University $4,046,250,000 11,807 $342,699
Brown University $2,999,749,000 8,894 $337,278
Mount Holyoke College $713,514,514 2,131 $334,826
Lafayette College $832,811,462 2,491 $334,328
Scripps College $310,536,027 985 $315,265
Agnes Scott College $272,331,405 876 $310,881
Colgate University $865,882,401 2,837 $305,211
College of the Ozarks $427,271,668 1,431 $298,583
Oberlin College $866,829,551 2,912 $297,675
DePauw University $627,746,247 2,229 $281,627
Hollins University $180,654,198 671 $269,231
College of the Holy Cross $726,231,559 2,698 $269,174
Wesleyan University (Conn.) $793,334,000 2,976 $266,577
Centenary College of Louisiana $137,343,822 521 $263,616
Trinity College (Conn.) $551,798,198 2,166 $254,754
Randolph College $167,712,000 676 $248,095
Johns Hopkins University $3,392,529,000 13,806 $245,729
University of Tulsa $1,023,411,834 4,171 $245,364
Furman University $650,034,650 2,678 $242,731
Bryn Athyn College of the New Church $60,448,065 267 $226,397
Cornell University $4,646,133,725 21,817 $212,959
University of Rochester $2,015,282,553 9,470 $212,807
Sewanee: The University of the South $374,301,967 1,759 $212,792
Bucknell University $750,913,000 3,577 $209,928
Occidental College $406,096,354 2,000 $203,048
Centre College $267,165,187 1,362 $196,157
Lehigh University $1,215,926,000 6,210 $195,801
Union College (N.Y.) $415,800,000 2,226 $186,792
Southwestern University (Tex.) $265,590,566 1,500 $177,060
Spelman College $367,036,697 2,090 $175,616
Case Western Reserve University $1,758,570,000 10,210 $172,240
Dickinson College $396,265,465 2,391 $165,732
Brandeis University $861,152,377 5,202 $165,543
Lawrence University $249,472,855 1,515 $164,669
Rhodes College $335,078,527 2,049 $163,533
Goshen College $117,507,429 720 $163,205
Transylvania University $169,015,033 1,047 $161,428
Boston College $2,105,654,033 13,069 $161,118
Southern Methodist University $1,425,146,000 8,860 $160,852
Millsaps College $123,347,854 774 $159,364
University of the Ozarks $100,535,743 633 $158,824
Illinois College $148,409,451 948 $156,550
Tufts University $1,590,045,000 10,180 $156,193
Lycoming College $198,093,000 1,272 $155,733
Kalamazoo College $222,047,672 1,434 $154,845
Gallaudet University $193,140,437 1,254 $154,019
Wake Forest University $1,148,026,000 7,463 $153,829
Franklin & Marshall College $339,204,000 2,217 $153,001
Mills College $189,288,277 1,241 $152,529
Wheaton College (Ill.) $405,027,289 2,659 $152,323
Connecticut College $277,965,000 1,858 $149,604
Bates College $263,892,125 1,792 $147,261
St. Olaf College $436,671,810 3,005 $145,315
Washington College $201,841,205 1,400 $144,172
Goucher College $227,559,000 1,583 $143,752
Pepperdine University $790,483,000 5,563 $142,097
Texas Christian University $1,393,241,000 9,848 $141,475
Hampden-Sydney College $150,901,016 1,086 $138,951
Albion College $187,707,113 1,359 $138,121
College of Wooster (Ohio) $278,112,603 2,027 $137,204
Hendrix College $179,657,921 1,329 $135,183
Illinois Wesleyan University $247,050,943 1,828 $135,148
Rollins College $371,141,000 2,765 $134,228
Hanover College $151,105,668 1,127 $134,078
Pitzer College $134,877,145 1,036 $130,190
Ohio Wesleyan University $211,722,867 1,655 $127,929
Skidmore College $330,594,000 2,604 $126,956
Kenyon College $212,159,850 1,699 $124,873
Clark University $392,091,757 3,163 $123,962
Wheaton College (Mass.) $193,544,650 1,567 $123,513
University of Southern California $4,593,014,000 37,299 $123,140
Gettysburg College $289,299,515 2,431 $119,004
St. Lawrence University $283,875,717 2,390 $118,776
University of Puget Sound $318,501,000 2,687 $118,534
Wofford College $191,830,918 1,647 $116,473
Tulane University $1,169,060,000 10,250 $114,055
Wesleyan College (Ga.) $63,251,978 558 $113,355
Barnard College $282,048,000 2,511 $112,325
Muhlenberg College $257,186,607 2,307 $111,481
Doane College $116,006,451 1,049 $110,588
Drew University $186,946,000 1,691 $110,554
Randolph-Macon College $152,138,039 1,391 $109,373
Austin College $135,768,645 1,243 $109,227
Ripon College $82,493,657 785 $105,087
Carnegie Mellon University $1,235,967,714 11,790 $104,832
Westminster College (Pa.) $115,107,507 1,105 $104,170
College of Idaho $106,899,675 1,027 $104,089
Young Harris College $117,372,377 1,153 $101,797
Washington & Jefferson College $135,711,770 1,342 $101,127
Beloit College $130,761,615 1,296 $100,896
Georgetown University $1,461,276,000 14,723 $99,251
Saint Louis University $1,076,959,263 10,937 $98,469
Allegheny College $184,693,333 1,890 $97,721
Saint John’s University (Minn.) $168,915,757 1,765 $95,703
Converse College $80,222,726 842 $95,276
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute $654,099,000 6,869 $95,225
Abilene Christian University $370,426,298 3,900 $94,981
Hardin-Simmons University $160,716,509 1,713 $93,822
Loyola University New Orleans $289,201,000 3,097 $93,381
Saint Mary’s College (Ind.) $148,102,212 1,587 $93,322
Emory & Henry College $96,614,350 1,049 $92,101
Knox College $124,428,259 1,368 $90,956
Willamette University $231,642,000 2,549 $90,876
Ursinus College $146,575,155 1,632 $89,813
George Washington University $1,576,508,000 17,689 $89,124
Hobart and William Smith Colleges $202,413,144 2,277 $88,895
Alma College $116,462,048 1,335 $87,237
Worcester Polytechnic Institute $433,062,000 4,967 $87,188
Franklin College of Indiana $87,613,381 1,015 $86,319
McMurry University $77,904,893 907 $85,893
New York University $3,435,034,000 40,777 $84,239
Monmouth College $99,214,230 1,178 $84,223
Lesley University $189,782,467 2,326 $81,592
Salem College $62,555,683 771 $81,136
Stonehill College $190,987,117 2,376 $80,382
Buena Vista University $135,570,211 1,714 $79,096
Hampton University $288,401,619 3,731 $77,299
Hastings College $87,180,291 1,131 $77,082
Hiram College $69,399,237 925 $75,026
Fairfield University $313,092,000 4,217 $74,245
Stephens College $46,799,691 636 $73,584
Golden Gate University $70,876,119 979 $72,396
Texas Lutheran University $93,287,083 1,291 $72,260
Susquehanna University $151,751,947 2,118 $71,649
Coe College $97,148,763 1,357 $71,591
Baylor University $1,151,200,304 16,118 $71,423
Cornell College $73,773,269 1,033 $71,417
William Jewell College $72,837,321 1,027 $70,922
Lewis & Clark College $224,361,159 3,167 $70,843
Roanoke College $137,477,655 1,942 $70,792
Bard College $157,263,726 2,224 $70,712
Presbyterian College $92,030,809 1,302 $70,684
Juniata College $106,785,783 1,522 $70,161
University of the Pacific $386,440,000 5,537 $69,792
Queens University of Charlotte $98,778,048 1,435 $68,835
Bethany College (W.Va.) $49,834,976 726 $68,643
National University $581,250,875 8,530 $68,142
University of Mount Union $145,688,000 2,155 $67,605
Warren Wilson College $53,805,119 800 $67,256
Saint Anselm College $126,278,878 1,878 $67,241
University of San Diego $468,766,000 6,984 $67,120
Morehouse College $137,985,811 2,069 $66,692
Samford University $323,843,012 4,885 $66,293
Wayland Baptist University $74,316,962 1,124 $66,118
Catholic University of America $297,105,251 4,495 $66,097
McDaniel College $114,131,000 1,739 $65,630
Howard University $591,902,000 9,026 $65,577
Villanova University $501,483,015 7,681 $65,289
Westmont College $84,368,978 1,294 $65,200
Howard Payne University $63,572,305 978 $65,002
Central College $79,887,626 1,230 $64,949
Creighton University $439,784,000 6,786 $64,808
Lyon College $45,020,624 698 $64,499