Gov. Rick Scott Invites Yale University to Move to Florida

The Yale Universtiy campusEXPAND
The Yale Universtiy campus

If Yale University decided to move down South, would it be known as Y'all University? Maybe we'll find out in the unlikely event that the Ivy League school takes Gov. Rick Scott's advice and moves to Florida. 

Yes, Scott has publicly invited the 315-year-old university to pack up its campus and move on down to the Sunshine State like so many elderly Connecticut residents before it. 

"We would welcome a world-renowned university like Yale to our state," Scott said in a news release that amounts to nothing more than a media attention grab. 

He apparently saw a news item and decided to use it to trumpet his own record. 

See, the State of Connecticut is facing a $220 billion budget shortfall this year, and to close the gap, a bill has been introduced in the state senate's finance committee that would specifically target Yale's giant $26.5 billion endowment. The endowment is currently tax-exempt, but the bill would tax investment returns on any college's endowment that is worth more than $10 billion. Yale happens to be the only university in the state that fits the bill.

Yale's endowment is the second-largest of any school in the nation, behind only Harvard's. To put the $26.5 billion figure into perspective, the University of Miami's endowment is only $887.3 million. The University of Florida's is $1.55 billion. Each is a small fraction of the Ivy League's nest egg.

Gov. Rick Scott
Gov. Rick Scott
Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons

According to Bloomberg News, a portion of that endowment goes to help fund the school's $3.2 billion annual budget, but the rest of it sits there in investment vehicles. In fact, the return on investment for the year ending June 30 was 11.5 percent. Because of those high returns, the school's endowment is now at its fattest sum ever. 

Of course, Connecticut Democrats aren't the first to be wary of large enodwments. Last month, Republicans in Congress sent a letter to every school with an endowment worth more than a billion asking why these colleges continue to get richer yet student tuition continues to rise. 

The Connecticut bill is just that: a newly introduced bill with unclear chances of becoming law. However, Scott wrote today, "I can commit that we will not raise taxes on their endowment. This would add yet another great university to our state.”

Of course, Yale has been in existence for more than three centuries and probably plans to stay in existence for three centuries more. It's unclear where in Florida the university could go to ensure that. Scott has taken a strong stance against raising taxes. Rising sea levels? Not so much. The Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies actually takes that as a serious issue. 

That pesky problem aside, how exactly does one think an entire campus moves states? Does Yale sell off its real estate and start anew somewhere in Florida? Or does just make a direct swap with a Florida university? 

Maybe we can trade Yale for FIU.  

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