Letter Printed in the Des Moines Register

March 20, 2007

Letters to the Editor

Re: "Higher ed faces bigger woes than president search," Nov. 25 (Higher education's nonprofit status)

Wick Sloane ("Higher ed faces bigger woes than president search," Nov. 25) misses that higher education's nonprofit tax status benefits students and the public good. It allows donors to claim a federal tax exemption for gifts given to higher education, many of which go to scholarships for needy students.

Philanthropic giving, endowments and other non-tuition revenue allow private colleges and universities to subsidize one-third of the total cost of providing an education, even before institutional aid is considered.

Without their nonprofit status, independent institutions could no longer provide the large grants, small classes and quality education that make a private college the right choice for millions.

Our students receive nearly five times more grant aid from their colleges than from federal sources. We enroll the same percentage of needy and minority students as public four-year universities, but graduate them at a far higher rate.

Private colleges employ nearly a million people, and have a cumulative impact of more than $340 billion on their local economies. Our institutions instill community service in students and serve as centers of cultural and social life in their neighborhoods. Without the federal tax exemption, this would be lost.


David L. Warren
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities


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