“Notwithstanding their rhetoric about meritocracy, admissions offices already make the pragmatic compromises necessary to cultivate — and pay for — good scholarship.”

But it’s all falling apart! What will happen to Yale without that money?

Trackback URL for this post:

4 Responses to “Because when you’ve got thirty billion dollars for a campus of fewer than 13,000 students, you need a rainy day fund.”

  1. Ravi Narasimhan Says:

    “According to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate Research and Scholarly Excellence Report published in November, more than 40 percent of tenured faculty said they “had no idea how admissions are done.”

    Is shared governance the culture at Yale? That’s hard to establish, harder to defend, and once it is gone it doesn’t come back. The checks and balances are at risk even at the few schools that have them. It will only get worse as the percentage of administrators continues to rise and more departments and professional schools become distinct and separate entities under some notional non-profit umbrella.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Ravi: Yes – though I’d add that having some knowledge of how admissions functions is probably important at not that many schools. Most universities aren’t selective, and have clear public mandates; most universities aren’t that important symbolically and practically in the larger culture. Because places like Yale are the exception, it’s terribly important that their communities (including at least some of their faculty) have a reasonably good sense of who they admit and why. In particular, they need to keep an eye on how much “legacy” admission happens year to year. As my point in this post indicates, there’s no reason for Harvard or Yale or Princeton to care about cold hard cash anymore; they’re already, as one wit puts it, tax free hedge funds with universities attached. When you pay your endowment managers tens of millions of dollars a year (which Harvard did until there was an outcry), you are really announcing to the world that you have so much money you don’t know what to do with it. Rather, they need to care about how much they’re diluting the intellectual energy/legitimacy of their student body.

  3. Ravi Narasimhan Says:

    I think I agree with you on points about Yale faculty needing to take an interest and about Hedge Fund Us; perhaps I should have asked “Isn’t shared governance the culture at Yale?” Faculty representation in undergraduate admissions would be part of that – assuming that faculty in a prestigious research institution have the time or interest to do it.

    I don’t think I agree with the other point about non-selective schools/universities with mandates/etc. The prestigious schools will have little variability in their applicant and admit pools. They’ll always get the high-end applicants with parental dollars to match. The other schools bear the brunt of reductions in public education spending, elimination of arts, overemphasis on sports, and other systemic changes that affect their applicant/mandatory admit pools. I hope the faculty there have a voice. If those schools “aren’t that important symbolically and practically in the larger culture,” I think our society is toast.

  4. charlie Says:

    The question of whether any university is toast will probably be found in their bond ratings. In other words, what are Wall Street bond palace’s assessment of a uni’s business model? From what I’m seeing, big money doesn’t think much of much of USAAmerican university administration. Bond ratings have decreased for quite a number of institutions. Moody’s warned about this problem a few years ago. Didn’t seem to stop the campus building frenzy, which larded up college balance sheets with long term debt. When the tide rolls out, we’ll see who was swimming naked…

Comment on this Entry

Latest UD posts at IHE