A university’s endowment goes a long way in fostering growth at a school. At UR, the endowment funds medical research, University renovations and the needs of UR faculty, among other projects. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa recently proposed in an editorial that the 135 schools in the nation UR being one of them with endowments over $500 million be required to spend five percent of these donations on reducing tuition and other student expenses. While rising tuition costs is a problem that deserves attention, this proposal would stunt the growth of UR down the road and is the wrong strategy for a country that prides itself on its free market.

The University currently spends equal to six percent of its endowment annually. With the new plan requiring that five percent be designated to reducing the cost of tuition, UR would be required to either spend a larger portion of its endowment annually meaning that less is invested in accruing interest each year or cut out a number of the projects that the endowment currently funds. This is unacceptable because, either way, the University would be marginalizing quality and opportunities for students in favor of affordability.

As a research university, UR needs to fund new initiatives and cutting-edge technology in order to remain competitive in the field. Recent breakthroughs such as the vaccine for the Human Papillomavirus and the development of the world’s most powerful fusion laser may not be possible in the future if the University was forced to reduce the amount it spends annually.
Additionally, the University currently offers a number of opportunities for prospective students to receive aid and uses a portion of its endowment for financial aid. Just last year, UR developed the ‘Rochester Promise,” a scholarship that relegates $1 million annually to assist inner-city-high school students in affording to attend UR.

By drastically regulating what institutions like UR spend their budget on, this proposal would undermine spending in areas that have proven essential in fostering an environment of learning.

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