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Education Law

2010

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University Endowments: A (Surprisingly) Elusive Concept, Frances R. Hill Jan 2010

University Endowments: A (Surprisingly) Elusive Concept, Frances R. Hill

Articles

Even as certain policy makers press for mandatory payouts from endowments, the concept of an endowment remains surprisingly elusive. In the absence of either operational concepts of endowments or well-established metrics for identifying and measuring endowments, public policy discussions proceed with an implicit model of an endowment as "money in waiting" that is not currently in use for exempt educational purposes. This Article suggests that endowments, however conceptualized or measured, are better understood as "money in use" even though it is not being distributed. It argues that most endowment money is currently in use for at least two purposes. The ...