Buried in this story about elite universities' practice of hoarding endowments while squeezing money from Uncle Sam and poor students is a nugget of information on which the otherwise all-knowing Nonprofiteer has previously failed to focus: that colleges and universities are exempt from the 5% distribution rule which controls hoarding by foundations. Institutions of higher education are operating nonprofits, and under ordinarily circumstances no one would expect an operating nonprofit to give away any portion of its wealth. But multi-million and even billion-dollar endowments are not ordinary circumstances.
So the answer to the Nonprofit Quarterly's question---"Should wealthy colleges and universities spend more from their endowment earnings to help low-income students?"---is: Ya think?