Readers will remember that, in Evangelii Gaudium, the leader of the Catholic Church developed a scathing critique of trickle-down economics and of the existing economy of inequality and exclusion.
Ironically, thanks to the reporting of Paul Moses [ht: js], based on a recent report by the New America Foundation (pdf), we’ve learned that many Catholic colleges and universities are engaged in their own acts of exclusion.
at a time of escalating worry over access to higher education for the children of the least affluent Americans, the study found that five of the 10 most expensive private universities for low-income students, and 10 of the top 28, are Catholic.
Some Catholic colleges “seem to have departed from what you would assume the principles of their faith would have compelled them to do,” said Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust, a nonprofit organization that advocates for low-income students.
“It’s disturbing that institutions give money in these very difficult times to students who don’t need it,” Haycock said, and “don’t focus their resources on those who absolutely need it the most.”
Some Catholic colleges have placed a high priority on meeting the needs of very low-income families, while others have limited resources to do so. However,
some of the Catholic colleges that charge the most have robust wealth in the form of their endowments. Saint Louis University has a $956 million endowment; the University of Dayton, $442 million; Catholic University, $264 million; Saint Joseph’s, $193 million; and Loyola of Maryland, $177 million, the National Association of College and University Business Officers reports. Among the other Catholic universities with high net prices for low-income students, Villanova University has an endowment of $419 million and Notre Dame, $6.9 billion.
According to the New American Foundation, my own university, with a $6.9 billion endowment, has an enrollment that includes just 12 percent of Pell Grant students and a net price of more than $15 thousand for low-income students.