University of Rochester

Office of the President

Office of the President

Dear Chairman Baucus, Senator Grassley, and Members of the Committee:

February 21, 2008

The Honorable Max Baucus
Chairman
United States Senate
Committee on Finance
219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6200
The Honorable Charles Grassley
Ranking Member
United States Senate
Committee on Finance
219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6200

Read Rochester's responses to U.S. endowment survey

I am pleased to submit this statement on behalf of the University of Rochester in response to your letter to me dated January 25, 2008.

The University of Rochester has always placed financial aid for its students among its highest priorities. More than 90 percent of our undergraduates receive financial aid. The average scholarship covers about 40 percent of the cost of attending the University of Rochester.

The University of Rochester is committed to offering the highest quality education to its students, regardless of their economic circumstances or background. In December, the University announced a new program to expand higher education opportunities for students from the Rochester City School District (RCSD), the district with one of the highest poverty and school dropout rates in New York State. The University will provide $25,000 per year for four years to every graduate of the school district who is admitted to the University's College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering; this is equivalent to an award of $100,000 for each student. We estimate approximately 40 RCSD students will be eligible the first few years, representing a commitment of $1 million annually from University funds. This is the University's second tuition benefit program set aside specifically for RCSD students. In 2004, the University began offering full-tuition scholarships to graduates of the International Baccalaureate Program at Wilson Magnet High School in the RCSD.

These commitments require a significant, steady source of revenue dedicated to both quality and access. Through the University's endowment we perpetuate and ideally enhance the University's educational, research, clinical care programs and public service missions. At the present time, that commitment requires an endowment payout of 6.6 percent, considerably above our target of 5.5 percent, calculated on a rolling five-year average of the endowment's market value.

The University's endowment consists largely of individual funds thanks to the generosity of charitable donors. The donors of these gifts often specify and restrict the purposes for which the income may be spent to ensure long-term benefits. The Board of Trustees, which oversees and helps manage the University's endowment, has provided that unrestricted endowment funds be designated for the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. These funds support financial aid, programs, activities, and services, beyond what could be funded solely with student tuition and other forms of public and private support.

As we look to the future and seek to improve the quality and accessibility of our teaching and scholarship, expand our research and patient care capacity, and develop the type of path-breaking programs that have long distinguished the University of Rochester and benefited the surrounding region, our endowment will continue to be a critical source of revenue to address the long- and short-term needs of the institution.

The responses to your specific questions are attached for your review and consideration. I hope this information provides you and the Committee a better understanding about our unwavering commitment to promote access and foster the highest quality education for our students. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any additional questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Joel Seligman
President