Nice article HERE. The crux (and John Protevi has pointed this out with respect to the University of California system for about a year now):
My inspiration comes from Ernest Davis, Patrick Deer, and Mark Crispin Miller, three NYU professors who, in an April 26 New York Times op-ed (“Expand Minds, Not the NYU Campus”), call on NYU to halt its planned $6 billion expansion. There are unique issues here involving historic preservation—NYU has been slowly wrecking the character of its Washington Square neighborhood for several decades—but Davis, Deer, and Miller also point out that since NYU doesn’t have a monster endowment, the new construction will be funded at least in part by loading up the university with more debt. That will mean higher tuition and more debt for NYU students, and it will also mean that NYU will further price itself out of reach for a growing number of prospective and current students.
The statistics overall are staggering:
Colleges and universities have spent more than $22 billion on new facilities during the past two years—more than twice what they spent as recently as 2000, when the economy was still enjoying a tech-fueled boom.
I do realize that it's a lot easier to get someone to give money for a building named after them than to get them to give money to an endowment that could help keep tuition low (as Harvard and other large endowment schools have been doing recently with vastly expanded scholarships). And I also realize that there is often a very strong political constituency for construction projects.
But still, if that 22 billion had gone to endowments tuition would be vastly lower, both because the institutions wouldn't be taking out loans predicated on future raises and because a four or five percent annual return on 22 billion is not chump change.