According to AEI's analysis, the 2009 cohort of NYU graduate- and professional-school students had amassed $1.135 billion in student loans. That's right: billion with a B. Five years later, more than a third of those students (34 percent) had not paid down their student loans by one dime.
New York University, you may recall, has been criticized for its lavish compensation packages for senior executives. NYU won't disclose how much it is paying Andrew Hamilton, its current president. But John Sexton, Hamilton's showy predecessor, made $1.5 million in 2012-2013. He retired with $800,000 in annual retirement income and a "length-of-service" bonus of $2.5 million.
Surely Hamilton is making as least as much as Sexton did. And NYU graciously updated Hamilton's penthouse apartment in Greenwich Village. How much did that cost? NYU won't say.
How does NYU manage to pay its executives so much? Does it have a large endowment? Not particularly. NYU's total endowment funds amount to only $4.1 billion, about one ninth the size of Harvard's ($35.6 billion).
NYU gets a lot of its revenue from federal student loans. As just noted, graduate students in the 2009 cohort borrowed over $1 billion. That would be OK with taxpayers if NYU's graduate students paid back what they owe. But a lot of them are not.
AEI's list of universities with below average repayment rates for graduate students reveals that the top 15 schools with high levels of student-loan debt and below average rates of repayment are all private universities. Here's the list, along with the percentage of graduate students in the 2009 cohort who had not reduced the principal of their loans by even a dollar after 5 years.
New York University (34%)
University of Phoenix (36%)
Nova Southeastern University (33%)
Walden University (33%)
Capella University (34%)
Argosy University (37%)
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (51%)
Keller Graduate School of Management (DeVry) (34%)
Midwestern University (22%)
Webster University (34%)
Grand Canyon University (28%)
National University--La Jolla (26%)
Strayer University (49%)
Thomas M. Cooley Law School (29%)
Touro College-Main Campus Midtown (22%)
What is the annual compensation for the senior executives at these institutions? Who knows? As private institutions, these universities are not required to disclose their compensation packages. But you can bet it is in the high six figures at all 15 universities.
So, Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer, I hope you approve of the federal government's student-loan program, which is shoveling money to private universities, because you are paying for a lot of lavish spending. Graduate students in particular are borrowing extraordinary amounts of money, and a high percentage of them have not paid any of it back five years into the repayment phase of their loans.
|NYU president Andrew Hamilton:|
Thanks, America! I love my swell penthouse apartment!
Jason Delisle. Graduate Schools with the Lowest Rates of Student Loan Repayment. American Enterprise Institute, June 2018.
Abby Ohlheiser. John Sexton will officially leave NYU in 2016. Atlantic, August 14, 2013.