Category Archives: Education

Schools of Higher Learning Report Record Gifts from Donors

Harvard University. Photo courtesy of
John Phelan

Setting a record for the ninth year in a row, United States colleges raised a whopping $47 billion during the 12 months beginning in June 2017. It appears that the long-lived stock market expansion played a role in the positive results.


The wealthiest school in the country had the best year. Harvard University raised an astounding $1.4 billion, said a study released in February 2019 by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.


Schools can thank the 14% growth of the S&P 500, which most likely helped many donors reach a bit deeper into their pockets. Three school surpassed the one-billion-dollar mark in money raised from June 2017 until June 2018. Seven schools were presented with single donations of at least $100 million, the highest number ever receiving such large gifts from one donor.


The second and third largest donations were made to Stanford University for $1.1 billion and Columbia University, which received $1 billion in gifts. Fourth and fifth runners-up were University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) which garnered $787 million and UC San Francisco with a nice $730 million.


The survey was taken by 927 schools. The survey relied on estimates for schools that did not respond to the survey.

Elite US Business Schools Face Shrinking Applicant Base

The Graduate Management Admission Council released findings which show that the number of applicants to US business schools declined by 7% in 2018. Most of that drop comes from international applications which showed a 10.5% shrinkage. Domestic applications also dropped, but by only 1.8%.

Making up the slack are Canadian and European business programs, which showed strong growth from international students.

Among the schools facing a smaller number of applicants are such top MBA programs as Wharton and Harvard, a reflection that young professionals are hesitant to leave their jobs to go back to school.

The steep downturn in international applications is most likely due to the more stringent visa requirements for foreign students to enter the US on student, or any other kind, of visa. In contrast business schools in Europe, Canada and Asia Pacific all had sizable growth in their number of MBA applicants.

“Demand for graduate management education is stable year over year,” said Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and CEO. “However, there are significant regional variations. Non-U.S. programs continue to thrive, highlighting the continued emergence of enhanced educational and professional opportunities outside the United States.”

The trend is not only caused by “a disruptive American political environment,” but also by the growth of excellent MBA programs outside the borders of the USA. Non-US citizens are more often looking into educational and professional opportunities outside the USA.

The First Major Business School in the US Reaches Gender Parity

This coming fall men and women will make up the student body of the incoming class in close to equal numbers at the University of Southern California’s Marshall Business School. It is the first time such a highly-ranked business school in the US can claim gender parity in its full-time MBA program. The milestone was achieved this year with a 20% jump in the number of women enrolled, from 32% last year to 52% this coming year.

“We know industry is looking for more women for leadership-level positions, so it will give us a chance to satisfy those needs from our employers,” said Dean James G. Ellis. He added that the gender gap in business runs “from boards to senior leadership down to entry level.”

Presently, many of the nation’s primary business schools favor men by about 20%, with women making up 40% while men are represented by 60% enrollment.
Ellis explained the several factors that contributed to USC made the jump to parity in just one year.

“The quality of the pool was strong, and the yield was good. A lot of our students were helping with recruiting,” he said. The school also had “positive reputational stuff” combined with a large climb in MBA rankings, which also helped. US News ranked USC as the 20th top business school in 2018, up from 31st in 2016.

According to global non-profit Catalyst, gender parity at the highest levels of business is few and far between. Women make up about 54% of the labor force among the S&P’s top 500 companies in the financial services sector, but they constitute only 29% of the executive and senior-level manager positions. Women only occupy 2% of the CEO positions. The tech world has similar figures.

Around the world business schools are struggling to improve gender diversity, hoping that these efforts will translate to more women in positions of power and influence when they graduate. Some of the methods used to encourage women to come to MBA programs are scholarships and executive coaching for women, to yearly gender diversity seminars.

Climate Change Non-Issue for Business Schools

NASA 16-008 – January 20, 2016 – 2015 Global Temperatures . Picture courtesy of NASA Scientific Visualization Studio.

Despite the fact that climate change has enormous economic consequences, only a handful of US business schools which allow students to focus their studies on sustainability.

Recent closures of facilities owned by Nestle and Coca-Cola, as well as an imminent coffee shortages on the horizon, which will disrupt companies like Starbucks, has still not sent the message to business schools that climate change is an issue that needs addressing by the business community.

Climate change affects every resource used by business: agriculture, water, land, energy, and workers and the economy. No business will be immune from the transformation caused by climate change. Some observers believe that without radical change in our business models climate change will lead to disastrous consequences.

The scientific consensus is that the best way to avoid disaster is to keep the average global temperature increase to only 2 degrees Celsius. In order to reach this goal emissions of greenhouse gases need to be limited to 1 trillion metric tons which will mean a 49 to 72 percent reduction globally from 2010 levels.

Clearly business needs to take a leading role in the reduction of gases that contribute to climate change, but the schools that are educating our future entrepreneurs and business leaders are not taking the issue seriously enough.

One study looked at 51 schools out of the hundreds in the country. It found that when a sustainable business course is offered, it is usually just an elective. Just a few business schools offer minors, majors, certificates or graduate degrees in sustainability business and /or management.

The 51 schools that were chosen for the study are leaders in the study of sustainability. The vast majority of schools do not offer any kind of coursework on the subject. The study showed that even the best schools for sustainability are doing a bad job preparing students for the future that is coming.

College Costs Continue to Climb

Brown University Robinson Hall 2009 Providence Rhode Island. Photo by chensiyuan.

Getting a college education is not getting cheaper: far from it. As the tuition and living expenses rise so does the student debt: collectively, Americans owe over $1.3 trillion in student loans.

With help from the College Board’s Trends in College Price and the Chronicle of Higher Education, the following is a list of some of the country’s most expensive undergraduate educations.

  • Surprisingly, the most expensive school in the country is in Claremont, California. Harvey Mudd College will set a student back $69,717 just for one year of learning. The breakdown is $52,666 is the tuition plus fees, while room and board will come to $17,051 for the year.
  • Number 25 on the list of 50 schools is Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Tuition is $50,910 for the year with an additional $14,976 for tuition. Grand total: $65,886.
    The last on the list of 50 is still not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination. Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island is a bargain (not!) with tuition and fees adding up to $51,366 and room and board adding an additional $13,200.
  • Not everyone needs to go to such expensive colleges. There are choices with lower tuition, such as Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. With over 30,000 students it is the largest school with the least tuition: $5,300 for the school year 2016-17.
  • If you are inclined towards a small college in a rural area, Blue Mountain College is in Blue Mountain, Mississippi. With a campus size of 190 acres and only 457 undergrads, it might be a good choice, especially with tuition running only at $10,534 for the academic year 2016-17.