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The lifeline of endowment aid

first_imgSarah Winn’s dream of becoming a teacher came true at Harvard, which she attended with help from the University’s generous financial aid program. She is far from alone. Last year Harvard set a financial aid record, distributing $414 million in grant assistance to students across the University.“There’s no way I would have been able to go to Harvard if it was not for financial aid. Finances were a huge factor in my college decision,” said Winn ’14, who now teaches English to 10th-graders at Cristo Rey Philadelphia, a private high school serving low-income students. In college, Winn also became a certified teacher through Harvard’s Undergraduate Teacher Education Program, an initiative, like financial aid, that is backed in part by the University’s endowment.But officials in higher education fear that success stories such as Winn’s could be threatened by congressional lawmakers’ plans to overhaul the federal tax code. In an effort to pay for $1.5 trillion in proposed tax cuts included in a bill unveiled Thursday in the U.S. House, Republican leaders proposed a 1.4 percent tax on the charitable endowment earnings of private universities that have endowments larger than $100,000 per student.Education experts argue that such a tax proposal threatens both financial aid and research and reflects a common misunderstanding of how charities and endowments work. They say the tax  would undercut critical research funding and weaken key financial aid programs that support students for whom college would otherwise be unaffordable. Annual proceeds from Harvard’s endowment, for example, form the largest source of revenue that funds the University’s operations — from undergraduate financial aid to faculty salaries and labs, thereby enabling Harvard to achieve its teaching and research mission.Experts say that endowments, instead of being giant checking accounts in which nonprofit institutions hoard cash, are made up of hundreds or thousands of individual gifts, the value of which is required to be maintained at inflation-adjusted levels in perpetuity. Universities like Harvard only can spend a portion of the annual investment proceeds, and only on the purposes designated by the original donors. Universities are public charities and are tax-exempt because of their educational mission. The congressional proposal for the first time would impose taxes on an operating charity.Experts across the country voiced their concern over the proposed tax.Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities, which represents 62 leading U.S. research universities, praised congressional efforts to simplify the nation’s tax code but warned of the harm that this new tax on educational institutions could cause.Harvard scholars, administrators, and alumni echoed those fears.“In the current environment of low returns, Harvard’s endowment is fully stretched supporting the teaching and research mission of the University and meeting the financial needs of our students,” said John Y. Campbell, Harvard’s Morton L. and Carole S. Olshan Professor of Economics. “Taxation of endowments would jeopardize those activities, both here and at other universities.”Harvard President Drew Faust expressed concern that taxing endowments would harm students and faculty and could impact critical programs and initiatives.“Taxing college and university endowments would have devastating effects on students and faculty,” said Faust. “Harvard’s endowment is what fuels our excellence, our affordability for students of modest means, our commitment to discovery, and our impact in the world. This measure would disadvantage universities in the charitable sector, and — in targeting universities — weaken the nation’s strongest contributors to medical cures, economic innovation, job creation, scholarship, and access to higher education for students of all economic backgrounds who will shape our future.“Harvard’s endowment is not locked away in some chest,” Faust added. “It is at work in the world. Endowment proceeds fund nearly 40 percent of the University’s operations, with nearly a quarter spent directly on financial aid. The balance funds labs, professors, and libraries — and helps enhance affordability for students. A tax on university endowments is really a tax on the people who make up these institutions and the work they do: donors, alumni, staff, students, and faculty. We will continue to work assiduously to make clear why this would be such a destructive measure.”Much of the research conducted at Harvard is aimed at the world’s most-pressing challenges. Its endowment, for example, is an important source of funding for the new Data Science Initiative, a University-wide program that supports efforts in which researchers produce and analyze information, including massive data sets generated from science, engineering, social sciences, and medicine. By applying the theory and practice of statistics and computer science, the initiative aims to make processing and understanding vast quantities of data possible.Rick McCullough, Harvard’s vice provost for research, said, “Endowment funds combined with an important gift enabled us to launch the Data Science Initiative.”More than half of Harvard research involves the life sciences and carries important implications for the health and future of many people, including through advances in therapeutics and the ability to treat diseases, said McCullough. He said taxing the endowment would add “another hindrance to people’s ability to do their research.”“It means there would be fewer people working on these problems, and the pace at which discovery is made will be slowed. One could argue that that’s fine, but on the other hand if you look at what other countries are doing, they are doubling down on their research support. China in particular is becoming increasingly more competitive because its investment in research and development has skyrocketed, while the United States has been slowly decreasing. That translates into discovery, which then translates into economic and technological competitiveness for our country.”Harvard alumni have played a critical role in helping to build the University’s endowment. In 2014, philanthropist Kenneth Griffin ’89 gave $150 million to Harvard, principally to support its financial aid program. That gift benefits hundreds of undergraduates every year.“It is extremely important that students of all backgrounds have the opportunity to challenge themselves, learn to solve complex problems, and ultimately better our world,” Griffin told the Gazette in 2014. “My goal with this gift is to help ensure that Harvard’s need-blind admission policy continues, and that our nation’s best and brightest have continued access to this outstanding institution.” Griffin described the gift as “an investment in the next generation of leaders as we continue to break down barriers to an outstanding education.”Looking back at her own path through Harvard to teaching, Winn said realizing that she could graduate without a mass of debt influenced her career choice, and she now can pass along her good fortune to others.“Certainly I would have been forced to think more critically or make different decisions about what teaching jobs I was able to look for and accept if I had more loans than I do now,” said Winn. “It would have narrowed places that I could have applied for teaching jobs, and potentially the ability to teach.”Harvard’s financial aid “was extremely important and a huge benefit to my life.”last_img read more

Bermuda, Cayman brushedaside in ICCT20 World Cup qualifier

first_imgHAMILTON, Bermuda, (CMC) – North American neighbours Canada and the United States outplayed sister British Overseas Territories Bermuda and the Cayman Islands at White Hill Field on Saturday, on the penultimate day of the week-long quadrangular ICC Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier Americas final.Bermuda had hoped to win the tournament outright, but were swept aside by the belligerence of Rizwan Cheema whose half-century helped carry Canada to an eight-wicket win while Steven Taylor’s explosive unbeaten half-century saw the US crush the Caymans by nine wickets with more than half of their overs to spare.It was Bermuda’s first defeat of the week but the fifth in a row for the Caymans.Opting to bat first, Bermuda tallied 116 off 19.5 overs with Kamau Leverock top-scoring with 33 and Allan Douglas getting 31.Guyana-born medium-pacer Dillon Heyliger, 29, did the bulk of the damage with four for 19 from four overs while left-arm pacer Romesh Eranga claimed two for 17 and off-break bowler Nitish Kumar, two for 18.Bermuda’s innings got off to the worst possible start when captain Terryn Fray was run out for nought in the first over without facing a ball.Sussex county all-rounder Delray Rawlins was bowled first ball by Kumar to leave Bermuda struggling at 17 for three, but Leverock and Douglas led a rally in a 44-run fifth wicket stand after Malachi Jones was fourth out for 21.In reply, Canada, who were denied victory over Bermuda by rain earlier in the week in a no-result, lost opener Rodrigo Thomas for one to left-arm spinner Rawlins in the second over, but needed only 13.1 overs to secure the points, 41-year-old Pakistan-born Cheema clouting seven sixes and five fours in his 34-ball 71.Three of Cheema’s sixes came in the 10th over bowled by medium-pacer Onias Bascome before he was caught behind off the fifth ball to leave the US 93 for two. However, captain Navneet Dhaliwal (24 not out) and Ravinderpal Singh (21 not out) ensured there were no further slip-ups.In the other game, Cayman chose to bat first but could muster only 66 for nine – Troy Taylor top-scoring with 19 – before 25-year-old left-hander Taylor, who was born in Florida of Jamaican parents, smashed nine fours and two sixes in his 39-ball unbeaten 56 to carry the US to victory in 9.4 overs.The success came too late for the US after they earlier twice lost to Bermuda, who will be joining Canada as the Americas region top two at the final qualifier in the United Arab Emirates in October and November ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.last_img read more

Kobe Bryant ‘fine’ with his Lakers championship ring count

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Lakers coach Byron Scott understood the feeling. Scott argued he should have won five NBA titles instead of three with the Showtime Lakers. Scott missed the Lakers’ 1989 NBA Finals four-game sweep to Detroit after straining his left hamstring. Yet, Scott conceded “we can’t get them back.”“He knows in his heart he’s given everything,” Scott said of Bryant. “When you feel that way and know you’ve given everything you’ve got, you can be [at peace].”Scott admitted he will not feel at peace on Sunday in Detroit.“Every time I step into that building, I see some jerseys that I played against and a couple of banners up there that were won at our expense,” Scott said. “It conjures up memories.” Still, both Bryant and Scott hold the Pistons teams in high regard. ATLANTA >> Kobe Bryant will soon feel something unpleasant that does not involve his health. When the Lakers (3-16) play the Detroit Pistons (11-9) on Sunday at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Bryant will feel frustration regarding the Lakers losing to the Pistons in five games of the 2004 NBA Finals.“It still eats at me. Absolutely does,” Bryant said. “I’m upset that I gave Richard Hamilton something to brag about. Up until that point, he never beat me. That just kills me.” Bryant has contended he should have won seven NBA championships instead of five amid the Lakers’ NBA Finals losses to Detroit (2004) and Boston (2008). So how does Bryant process the fact his 20-year NBA career will sit at five NBA titles?“I did everything I could. I’m fine with that, ” Bryant said following Saturday’s practice at Georgia Tech University. “When I came into the league, I knew I didn’t want to have any regrets. I pushed as hard as I can. I’ve done that. So I’m completely fine.”center_img “They were real physical,” Scott said. “(Bill) Laimbeer was dirty. But other than that, everybody else were physical basketball players.”Bryant disagreed the Lakers would beaten Detroit in 2004 had Karl Malone stayed healthy. “They were a better team than us,” Bryant said. “They pressured us and we weren’t ready to go into our offense and automatics. That is stuff that wins us championships.”Hard at workBryant may have missed Saturday’s practice. But those frequent absences does not mean Bryant enjoys a day off.He typically spends rest days stretching, running on a treadmill, lifting weights and receiving massage therapy. In recent games, Bryant has also performed a series of leg stretches, jumps and butt kicks when he is not playing. Bryant laughed about the routine, likening it to Jim Carrey’s character in “The Cable Guy.”“Normally when you sit on the bench, you’re trying to rest your legs,” Bryant said. “[Forget about] rest. It won’t make difference. I can’t move. So I try to get up and move around as much as possible.” Injury updateLakers rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. took an MRI exam on Saturday that showed swelling and soreness in his right knee. The Lakers listed Nance Jr. as questionable for Sunday’s game in Detroit. last_img read more