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Enzi Ranking Member Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions United States Senate The Honorable George Miller Chairman The Honorable John P. Kline Ranking Member Committee on Education and Labor House of Representatives U. In congressional hearings and in academic literature, some have argued that some college and university endowments have grown very large without a concurrent increase in the use of endowment proceeds to reduce the cost of attending those schools. Others have argued that it is the duty of institutions with endowments of any size to balance the needs of students today with the need to preserve endowments for students in the future, so schools should be prudent in making decisions about endowment distributions, even in years that endowment investments performed very well. The topic of college affordability continues to be an issue of great concern and many are concerned that increases in the cost of college may be discouraging large numbers of individuals, particularly minority and low income individuals, from pursuing higher education. This mandated report provides information about endowments that will help inform policymakers and others as they consider college and university endowment issues. The Higher Education Opportunity Act 1 requires us to describe university endowments. To obtain this information, we analyzed information collected from not- for-profit private and best custom essay writing services public 4-year postsecondary educational institutions by the Department of Education 2 and reviewed documents and interviewed officials at 10 selected colleges and universities. We used a case-study methodology because information needed to address our second and third objectives was only available from records kept by individual buy cheap paper online colleges and universities. Dollar amounts for years prior to 2009 are adjusted for inflation and presented in 2009 dollars using the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Detailed information about our methodology can be found in appendix I. The framework requires that we plan and perform the engagement to obtain sufficient and appropriate evidence to meet our stated objectives and to discuss any limitations in our work. We believe that the information and data obtained, and the analysis buy cheap paper online conducted, provide a reasonable basis for the findings and conclusions in this product. Background Endowments are defined as institutional funds that, under the terms of a gift agreement, can not be entirely spent by the institution on a current basis.

Typically, donors establish endowments to create a stable source of income for an institution, which invests the principal or original amount of the endowment gift buy cheap paper online and spends the earnings to support its operations. Donors can establish an endowment as either a true endowment — a fund whose principal cannot be spent paraphrasing sentences online by the institution, or as a term endowment — a fund whose principal may be spent after the passage of a 2 The Department of Education collects information on endowments and other matters from postsecondary educational institutions that participate in federal student aid programs. The fiscal year for two other schools runs from September 1 to August 31, and for one other school from June 1 to May 31.

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Page 2 GAO-10-393 College and University Endowments certain amount of time or the occurrence of a certain event. True and term endowments are collectively referred to as donor-restricted endowments. In addition, institutions can establish quasi-endowments, also known as board-designated endowments. The institution can reverse the decision to create quasi- endowments and spend those funds in their entirety at any point in time. Institutions can include quasi-endowments with true and term endowment funds when reporting their total endowment, and the Department of Education and the National Association of College and University Business Officers both ask that colleges and universities include quasi- endowment funds in the endowment totals they report in response to their surveys. When an institution establishes a quasi- endowment, it may also include a designation that the fund be restricted for a particular purpose, or the fund may have been originally given to the institution with a purpose restriction, which would remain in effect after its designation as an endowment. In addition to purpose restrictions, endowments can be restricted in other ways, such as requirements to reinvest the earnings back into the endowment until it reaches a certain size, or requirements to delay the spending of earnings for some period of time. However, because institutions invest and spend these funds alongside true and term endowments, and include them in their reported endowment amounts, we have included them in our analysis. Regardless of the party managing endowment investments, institutions pay management fees for this service. Pooled endowment funds each own a number buy cheap paper online of shares in the pool in proportion with their size, and receive a periodic distribution per share, based on the distribution rate set by the institution. These distributions are paid to the holder of the endowment fund — such as the department or buy cheap paper online program for which the fund is restricted — for spending in accordance with the terms of the gift agreement. Endowments change in value over time through several inflows and outflows of assets, generally as shown in figure 1. II through XI for more detailed descriptions of different endowment structures. Page 4 GAO-10-393 College and University Endowments endowments for tax purposes. Finally, in accounting for and reporting on endowments, schools must follow generally accepted accounting standards as a requirement of their annual financial audits. When reporting on their endowments, accounting standards require schools to classify endowment assets according to how they are restricted.

Private schools classify the original gift amount that must be held in perpetuity by the school as permanently restricted, and public schools report such assets as restricted nonexpendable assets. Endowment assets that the institution can spend but that are subject to restrictions on how or when they may be used are classified as temporarily restricted assets by private schools and restricted expendable assets by public schools. Endowment assets that are not subject to restrictions for how and when they may be used are classified as unrestricted assets by both private and public schools.

Excess tax deductions for charitable contributions may be carried forward to future tax returns for 5 tax years. Page 5 GAO-10-393 College and University Endowments Endowments Vary Greatly in Size and Grew during the Past 20 Years despite Occasional Declines Endowment Size Varies among Institutions, with Many Small and a Few Very Large Ones U.

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