Northwestern University is one of about 140 private colleges that would have their endowments taxed under a plan being considered by House Republicans.

The school ranks 31st on a list compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education of the size of college endowments per full-time student.

The Republican tax plan would impose a 1.4 percent tax on the investment income of private colleges and universities that have at least 500 students and assets of $100,000 or more per full-time student.

Northwestern, the Chronicle reports, has an endowment of $7.5 billion and 17,185 full-time students, or roughly $436,000 in endowment funds for each full-time student.

The endowments are currently untaxed. Advocates claim the new tax would bring in $3 billion in revenue over a decade — one of many new revenue sources being considered to offset proposed tax cuts.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. NU Endowment vs. other school

    Those who think NU should donate more of its  Endowment to the city [or even student aid] should look at the table to see how low NU is on per student basis.

    BTW I think NU wastes alot on non-educational facilites and programs.

  2. Pay your fair share Northwestern!

    This is a wonderful idea and it’s about time. If we peasants in the peanut gallery dip into our 401k it is taxed. If we receive assets from an estate it’s taxed. If we win the lottery the winnings are taxed. But Northwestern recieves $7.5 BILLION in endowments and it’s not taxed? 

    It’s time Northwestern pays its fair share and lo and behold it’s the Republicans who are pushing the idea along in a state controlled by Democrats. If Illinois is ever going to get out of this fiscal nightmare, the worst in the nation, voters must elect Republicans up and down the ballot. Or things are just going to get worse.

    1. Tax on NU endowment
      NU doesn’t receive $7+ billion – that’s its endowment total, the annual income from which helps pay the University’s expenses which promote the public good through education and research. That’s why it’s traditionally been exempt from taxes. By the way, imposing federal taxes on a major job creator in the Chicago area won’t resolve Illinois’ state budget problems.

      1. NU Endowment

        Any reasonable person who believes NU is a real world non-profit is delusional.  They may be legally a non-profit, but their behavior is that of a for profit institution.  This also applies to St. Francis and Evanston Hospitals.  Back to NU, how do you justify spending $110 million on a basketball arena?  It seems to me they have an excess of wealth.  No problem with that as NU clearly delivers a world class education. Their behavior is of a for profit institution and should lose their non-profit status–just as St Francis and Evanston Hospital should.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *