Wealth Accumulation at Elite Colleges, Endowment Taxation, and the Unlikely Story of How Donald Trump Got One Thing Right

40 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2019 Last revised: 9 Aug 2019

See all articles by Mae C. Quinn

Mae C. Quinn

University of Florida - Levin College of Law

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

President Donald Trump has declared war on immigrants, diversity, and those who dare to dissent. Rooted in resentments about who people are, where they were born, and what they believe, these executive-led assaults are dangerous developments in the modern era. However, in the course of Trump's many retrograde tirades, he has somehow managed to get one thing right-too many elite private colleges in the United States, considered nonprofit entities, have amassed way too much wealth.

This Article recounts this unlikely story, including how the Trump Administration's 2017 endowment tax could work to advance diversity. The new endowment tax penalizes private colleges for stockpiling assets. In response, potentially impacted universities have argued they are victims of an unfair conservative conspiracy intended to target liberal ideology. But the data demonstrates that this is not true. And concerns about rich colleges hoarding their resources have come from both the right and the left.

Moreover, Trump's endowment tax could be seen as an opportunity and invitation to increase egalitarianism and equity in this country. If rich colleges simply utilize more of their massive savings to further social justice, impact poverty, and enhance public good-particularly in their own at-risk communities-they will not only avoid federal taxation but also begin to address critiques about their elitism and greed. In doing so such universities would not only thwart Trump and his tax but stand with vulnerable groups who are the true victims of the Trump Administration's ever-expanding conservative attacks.

Keywords: endowment tax, diversity, wealth accumulation

Suggested Citation

Quinn, Mae C., Wealth Accumulation at Elite Colleges, Endowment Taxation, and the Unlikely Story of How Donald Trump Got One Thing Right (2019). 54 Wake Forest L. Rev. 451 (2019); University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3425296

Mae C. Quinn (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Levin College of Law ( email )

PO Box 357069
Gainesville, FL 32635
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
61
Abstract Views
403
rank
362,336
PlumX Metrics