America's private universities have lost lots of money on their endowment funds over the last two years. That's not news.
But this is (at least to me):
This interview with the president of Yale University reveals just how much many of these universities have come to rely on their endowment money:
At Yale, the endowment will provide 43 % of next year's budget. Tuition (net of financial assistance) accounts for just 11 %. It is not specified where the remaining 46 % come from.
Yale's tuition (including room and board) is 47,500 US$ for one academic year. Though many students receive financial aid, and average net tuition is "only" 18,000 $ (apparently, Yale is among the most generous schools as far as financial aid is concerned).
But in spite of those massive charges, tuition makes up only 11 % of the budget!
(In passing, the article also mentions that schools which mostly rely on tuition due to small endowments tend to run into trouble during recessions, because fewer and fewer students can afford to pay. As for public universities, their funding is also being cut due to tight state budgets.)
Seems to me that American higher education will experience some drastic changes during the next few years.
P.S.: Yale's president is rather condescending when it comes to European universities. Quote: "Europe, I think, has fallen by the wayside." I don't know about that. I rather like it that German universities only charge 1,000 € per academic year.