by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Several candidates in the 2024 Republican presidential primaries have threatened to enforce consequences for colleges and universities that allow antisemitism on their campuses. Former president Donald Trump said he would revoke visas of international students celebrating Hamas. North Dakota governor Doug Burgum said he would “fully enforce” Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which mandates that institutions receiving federal assistance refrain from allowing discrimination “on the ground of race, color, or national origin.”
Florida governor Ron DeSantis directed public universities in his state to “deactivate” Students for Justice in Palestine chapters (though he is now facing pushback from state education officials). Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley vowed to revoke tax-exempt status for colleges and universities that are ignoring antisemitism.
A new report from Open the Books, a nonprofit organization focused on transparency in government spending, demonstrates how much money these elite educational institutions receive from American taxpayers.
During the past five years, ten universities — the Ivy League, plus Northwestern and Stanford universities — received $33 billion in federal contracts and grants. These universities are subject only to an excessive endowment tax, which has them pay 1.4% of their net investment income on endowment assets exceeding $500,000 per student. Of the ten, Stanford came in with the highest total since 2018 at just over $7 billion, while only Dartmouth, with about $755 million, was under the billion-dollar mark.
Open the Books CEO and Founder Adam Andrzejewski told National Review the tax code and federal aid have been distorted beyond their initial purpose.
“With the U.S. taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks, and federal payments into these ten elite universities pushing $7 billion per year, it’s time to revisit the definition of a public charity,” he said. “Collectively, these schools have gamed the tax code for vast institutional enrichment.”