Ivy League Schools are getting dangerously wealthy.  Princeton's new student residence was a billionaire's mansion that has been converted into a dorm.  Meg Whitman, CEO of Ebay whom the residence will be named after, gave $30 million dollars towards projected costs to renovate the building.  The administrators then decided to tear up the budget and the architect went to town.  This dorm has triple-glazed mahogany casement windows made of leaded glass; and the 10 building complex ended up costing Princeton $136 million. That amounts to $272,000 for each of the 500 undergraduates who will live there.

This extravagance shows the prosperity of America's elite and private schools.  The eight Ivy League universities and other academic schools such as Stanford and MIT are elite institutions that excel socially and academically.  They are known for their great proportion of wealth to their size in comparison to other higher education institutions.  Most students that attend Ivy League schools are wealthy and they continue to get wealthier. 

These schools are not only turning campus life into a luxury but dumping huge sums of money into enlarging their role in research.  Many are developing science centered campuses, adding more top notch faculty, and shrinking class sizes, while increasing financial aid for lower-income students.

While these schools are gold plating their campuses, America's public institutions of higher learning are struggling.  Public institutions educate 75% of America's college students, but are struggling with rising enrollments and dwindling budgets.  Even prestigious public universities are trying to fend off richly financed school departments from trying to steal their best faculty and their research grants.  Public schools are being drained for the ultra-elite.

The gap between the Ivies and everyone else has never been wider.  Stanford University alone received $911 million in gifts in 2006.   The interesting thing is that the school a student graduates from really does play a role in the wealth they will accrue during their working life.  Elite graduates tend to become leaders in their sectors and with that comes top dollar.  Then the cycle will continue, because these leaders and wealthy individuals will give large endowments to the institution they graduated from.

This is a never ending cycle and it will continue to widen the gap between top private schools and public schools.  So not only are public schools being drained of their best students and faculty, but they are missing out on the research grant money that is being funneled into elite schools.   Therefore the talent and the money will remain and continue to grow for the very rich schools as public schools will try to scrape by. 

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