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College Endowments Highest in Three Years

According to their joint annual study, the National Association of College and University Business Officers (“NACUBO”) and Commonfund are reporting that college endowments are at a three-year high. For the fiscal year ending June 2017, the annual net endowment returns at colleges and universities averaged 12.2 percent. The percentage is a significant jump from the fiscal year 2016 average of -1.9 percent, and it marks the highest average achieved since the fiscal year 2014 (15.5 percent). Despite the turnaround, recent data reveals that the 10-year average annual return decreased from 5 percent in 2016 to 4.6 percent in 2017. More. Read More.

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NCAA Pledges to Reform Men’s Basketball

National Collegiate Athletic Association president Mark Emmert promises to act fast on recent allegations concerning men’s basketball. Ahead of the start of next season, Emmert wants to implement recommendations offered by the NCAA’s independent commission on college basketball. The NCAA created the committee following an unearthed scheme that lured basketball recruits with cash to attend certain schools. Emmert said the NCAA’s Board of Governors had reserved $10 million to carry out the commission’s recommendations, which the NCAA expects to receive in April. Additionally, starting next fiscal year, the NCAA will dedicate $2.5 million annually to reform the sport. Check out Inside Higher Ed for more on the NCAA’s attempts to reform men’s basketball.

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Report Recommends Improving Educational Quality at Colleges

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has issued a study calling for improved educational quality to help college students excel in the 21st century. In its report, “The Future of Undergraduate Education, The Future of America,” the academy proposes a three-part strategy that ensures first-rate learning experiences, increased completion rates and reduced inequities among higher institutions, and controlled college expenses. While the academy believes technology will help boost educational quality, it anticipates some of its goals could take decades to accomplish. More on the American Academy of Arts and Sciences report is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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Federal Student Aid Changes Proposed

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has released a proposal to significantly change how the U.S. government distributes student aid. Announced last week as the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform Act, the plan involves deregulating and restricting oversight of portions of federal aid programs. Proposed changes include simplifying student aid options, eliminating the public service loan forgiveness program, and changing the federal work-study program by distributing money to colleges based on student need. Learn more about the proposed changes to federal student aid is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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Tax Reform Could Impact Colleges’ Unrelated Business Income

If the proposed tax reform passes the Senate, colleges could lose their exemption from tax on certain income not connected to their academic mission. The proposal calls for expanding the unrelated business income tax and would include licensing royalties generated from the use of an institution’s name or logo. Colleges and universities with more than one unrelated business activity would also have to calculate the net income or loss from each activity separately and would not be able to offset income from one activity with loss from another. Several higher education groups believe the tax reporting changes could be burdensome. Read More.

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Senate Proposal Levies Same College Endowments Tax as House

The U.S. Senate’s proposed tax reform would levy the same tax to private college endowments as the House’s version. Both the Senate and the House are calling for a 1.4 percent tax on net investment income, which will impact about 70 colleges with endowments over $250,000 per student. The focus on endowments is part of Congress’ recent attempts on how endowments can help reduce the cost of attendance at colleges and universities. More on the proposed college endowment tax is available on the Accounting Today website.

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