Endowments in Public vs Private School

The Equality of Opportunity Project gathers data on economic mobility of college student. The project includes a wide range of factors, including geography, gender, parent’s income, etc. As a class, we have decided to further analyze some variables that may contribute to a college’s ability to increase income mobility of their students. In this section, we will be focusing on endowments, specifically in top tier private and public colleges. Some of the colleges include Harvard, Emory, Texas A&M, University of Florida, UCLA and UNC Chapel Hill.

Our goal is to first see if there is a correlation between endowments and income mobility with students. Afterwards, we will be comparing public and private schools of similar endowments to see if there might be an advantage to going to one type of school over the other. Additionally, there will be room for future research on how allocation of the endowments, whether it be  equity fees, research, athletics, or curriculum, affects the success of the students.

There are a lot of confounding factors that can play into student income mobility, however we are interested in seeing a correlation between the money put into a school (endowment), and the success of the students from those institutions. Are colleges rightfully allocating their endowment to the betterment of current and perspective students during and after college? If not, what are the other possible areas that their endowments may be invested in.

An overarching question for this project is:  How do colleges gauge success? Is it based on how well their students do after leaving college or is it based on prestige which has carried on to modern times? Can a school’s endowment be a good indicator as to how well a school is doing?

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