President Roth and Professor Weil Donate $100,000 to Financial Aid
President Michael Roth and his wife University Professor of Letters Kari Weil announced last week that they donated $100,000 to the University’s endowment for financial aid. Roth said that they considered donating to other aspects of the University, but ultimately settled on giving to the financial aid endowment.
“Kari and I decided in the fall to do this, and we thought we’d like to do something for the campaign that we’re asking others to contribute to,” he said. “In the end we thought that it's the most important thing we can help with. It's not a huge gift for the University—it’s a big gift for us, certainly the biggest thing we’ve ever done by a long shot—but we thought trying to do something for a scholarship is really key.”
Roth said he believes the best way to raise money for financial aid is through raising donations to the endowment.
“I really do believe in financial aid,” he said. “We have to limit it to a certain number, but I want us to expand that number. The best way to do that is not by raising tuition, but by increasing philanthropy.”
This donation comes after a record-breaking year for the University’s endowment. In the first part of 2011, the University raised $37.74 million for the endowment, and $17.2 million went towards supporting financial aid and the academic program.
With the University’s tuition rising each year, Roth said that the Board of Trustees and the University often reason that families that can afford the increased tuition will keep paying it and this money will help those families that cannot afford to pay. He noted that as the tuition continues to go up, fewer and fewer families are able to afford the entire cost.
“We had this Robin Hood tuition policy that we can charge more to the people who can afford it and then give it to the people who can’t,” he said. “I believe in that, in general, but I think what’s happened is that we charged so much that the people who can afford it are a smaller and smaller group. So by giving money to financial aid, it’s a small effort to help in that endeavor, and by making an endowment we hope to add to it over time when we can.”