It's Time To Cut Harvard's Taxpayer Handouts

June 17th, 2019 | Poletical

On June 17th, it was revealed that Harvard University had rescinded Kyle Kashuv's admission. 

Kashuv made a name for himself after the Stoneman Douglas shooting when he came out as a dissident voice against stronger gun laws in the United States. Kashuv was a lone voice among other shooting survivors who had all come out as advocates for stronger gun control laws and against the Second Amendment. Kashuv often disagreed with his peers and engaged in open, public debates in favour of fewer gun laws. 

After being admitted to Harvard, Kashuv's admission was later rescinded following alleged racial slurs that had resurfaced from Kashuv's high school years. Despite a written apology and a request for a face-to-face meeting, Harvard upheld their decision to rescind Kashuv's admission. Harvard representatives also refused to meet Kashuv to allow him to explain, in person, his regret and apology.

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Kashuv's rejection made waves on Twitter, where some rose to his defence while others defended Harvard's decision.

Those who defended Harvard made the claim that Harvard, being a private institution, had every right to rescind Kyle Kashuv's admission. However, Harvard receives several beneficial taxpayer handouts and tax breaks. Some have now argued that those special subsidies and handouts should be revoked. 

As reported by the Washington Post:

More than 800 colleges and universities across North America hold endowment assets of $516 billion. But the top 10 schools in terms of assets have about $180 billion of that total, more than one-third of all the holdings. Harvard University alone has a $35 billion endowment.

None of that money, nor the gains on it — which at the top schools were about 16 percent last year — are taxed. As non-profit entities, neither are the extensive land holdings of the nation’s colleges and universities.

Harvard, of course, is not the only college or university that receives such benefits and breaks. However, Kashuv's rejection has renewed a debate about how much these colleges should receive if they are allowed to reserve the right to rescind admissions like Kashuv's.

Harvard and similar institutions receive more than just that:

Such benefits account for $41,000 in hidden taxpayer subsidies per student annually, on average, at the top 10 wealthiest private universities. That’s more than three times the direct appropriations public universities in the same states as those schools get. Princeton University, for example, receives $105,000 in taxpayer benefits for each of its students, compared to the $12,000 in appropriations that go to New Jersey’s public university, Rutgers.

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Just last week, many of these schools carrying significant endowments released admissions rates for this fall’s incoming class, and they noted that they rejected some nine out of 10 students who applied. At the same time, they have a poor record of enrolling economically diverse classes, according to a New York Times analysis last year. Low-income students who qualify for Pell Grants, most of whom come from families making less than $60,000 annually, make up 15 percent or less of the student body at Stanford, Princeton, and Yale.

If Harvard is going to have such discretionary and loose standards for who they reject, perhaps it may be time to strip the institution of some of its taxpayer benefits. 

© 2019 Poletical