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Associations Oppose Connecticut Proposal to Tax Yale University


The following statement was issued today by the Association of American Universities, the American Council on Education, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in response to legislation under consideration by the Connecticut General Assembly to impose taxation on Yale University. Like other nonprofit charitable organizations, private nonprofit colleges and universities are tax-exempt nationally and in all fifty states.

As associations representing most of the nation’s colleges and universities, we are deeply troubled by state legislation proposed in Connecticut to tax the endowment and academic properties of Yale University. Private colleges, from small religious colleges to major research universities, are tax-exempt for the same reason as children’s charities, relief and religious organizations, and other nonprofits: their foundational commitment to public service. Universities’ missions of education and research are dedicated to serving the public good. The economy and American society rely deeply on the people universities educate, the discoveries made in their labs, and the work they do to improve their communities and their states.

Taxing a large university would set a precedent for taxing not only other private colleges but also every nonprofit, from local churches and soup kitchens to the Red Cross and Salvation Army. Nonprofit charitable organizations are part of the foundation of American society. If we begin to tax them, we erode that foundation.

Yale is one of the world’s great research universities. Like other such institutions, it is vital to the economy of its community and state. Connecticut should be very careful indeed about taking precipitous action that would, however unintentionally, undermine Yale’s ability to carry out its education, research, and service missions. Nowhere would the impact be greater than in Connecticut.