Cornell's Pollack Says Endowment Tax Plan Lacks Policy Purpose

(Bloomberg) -- Cornell University President Martha Pollack said she’s concerned about the Republican proposal that would tax some college endowments and require graduate students to pay taxes on stipends.

“It’s a bill that really will hurt higher ed and without any clear policy purpose in doing so,” Pollack said Tuesday on Bloomberg TV.

Cornell would pay a 1.4 percent tax on annual investment earnings if the House proposal becomes law. It targets schools that have $250,000 of endowment per student. Cornell, whose $6.8 billion endowment is worth about $300,000 per student, would be spared the tax under the Senate version, which has a higher threshold.

Endowments pay for expenses including financial aid, faculty salaries and academic programs.

“This is not a bill that is going to increase access for students or drive down costs,” Pollack said. “It’s not a bill that’s going to reward or incentivize philanthropists.”

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