Substack: Northwestern University Received $4 Billion From U.S. Taxpayers Since 2018, While Their Endowment Soared To $15 Billion 17_SS_Northwestern

May 20, 2024 01:52 PM



Northwestern University Seal - attribution at the bottom of this piece.

By Adam Andrzejewski, OpenTheBooks CEO/Founder | Full article published at OpenTheBooks.Substack

This spring, students on dozens of college campuses have built encampments and occupied buildings in anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist demonstrations.


Not surprisingly, some have turned violent.


In general, universities that cracked down on disruptive demonstrations and disciplined the students involved, limited damage both to their buildings and reputations. But other colleges did the opposite and “negotiated” themselves into shocking concessions.


Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Northwestern University is an elite college and admits just seven percent of applicants. It has top faculties in medicine, law, engineering, business, the arts and sciences, journalism, and even theatre. Students come from around the world and from all 50 states. Long called a “near-Ivy,” its place among the best U.S. universities is unquestioned. 


And yet, as happened at so many distinguished schools, this spring, Northwestern students set up an anti-Israel encampment. Positioned on the lawn of its neo-Gothic Deering Library, the camp supported the terrorist organization Hamas, its nearly 20-year misrule of Gaza, and its genocidal intentions for Jews and the State of Israel.


Dubbed the “Northwestern Liberated Zone,” students there demanded the university divest its endowment from Israeli companies and cut ties with institutions connected to Israel.


A mere five days later, university leadership rolled over and agreed with the protestors, making commitments that include:

  • Keeping one “aid tent” on Deering lawn for Hamas supporters to use until June,

  • Condemning identification of Hamas supporters, and urging employers “not to rescind job offers for students engaging in speech protected by the First Amendment,”

  • Re-establishing an Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility to single out Israel for sanctions, with Hamas-supporting students, as well as faculty and staff representatives,

  • Creating five full scholarships for Palestinian undergraduate students,  

  • Funding two pro-Hamas Palestinian faculty,

  • “[E]ngag[ing] students in a process dedicated to ensuring additional support for Jewish and Muslim students within Student Affairs/Religious & Spiritual Life.”

  • Immediately providing temporary meeting space for Middle Eastern, North African, and Muslim students, to be followed by a house for “community building” by 2026, and finally…

  • Incorporating students into vendor supplying decisions for the university’s dining services.

The concessions concerned Jewish students and all those who abhor violence, support the rule of law and abjure terrorism. 

For good measure, Northwestern also hosted “Palestine Week,” starting May 12, which included an “art build” where students could paint Palestine-themed artwork and learn about the history of the keffiyeh—a garment worn across the Middle East that has become associated with pro-terror sentiments.


Congressional Hearing, May 23, 2024

The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce called Northwestern President Michael Schill and Board of Trustees Chair Peter Barris to testify on University actions in response to terrorist sympathizers. However, it looks like only Schill will testify before the committee. 

Quote It

In her letter calling on Schill and Barris to appear before the Committee, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) stated:


“The unlawful pro-terror encampment, dubbed the ‘Northwestern Liberated Zone,’ disrupted campus life and became a hotspot for pervasive anti-Semitic harassment and hostility. Rather than enforcing University rules and disciplining those who violated them, Northwestern’s leaders surrendered to the violators in a shameful agreement.”


Federal Funding

Our auditors at OpenTheBooks found that Northwestern, like most of the top universities, is funded in large part by taxpayer-paid federal subsidies, contracts, and grants.


Northwestern is a major federal contractor, receiving over $4 billion in contracts, grants, and sub-contracts since 2018. More than $200 million has been awarded in fiscal year 2024, as reported by federal agencies thus far.


This funding does not include: 1. subsidized student loans; 2. the benefit received by only minimal taxation on Northwestern’s $14.9 billion endowment; and, 3. no taxation on other assets. 


Numerous members of Congress propose defunding universities that refuse to crack down on anti-Semitism on campus.


Breaking down the federal grant-making, the Health and Human Services Department ($2.6 billion), National Science Foundation ($361 million), Defense Department ($256 million), Education Department ($136 million), and the Energy Department ($125 million) were the biggest contributors. 


Here’s just one example of frivolous grant-making at Northwestern:

  • $1,363,858 from 2021-2022 from National Institutes of Health to improve “measurement of alcohol use and other disparities by sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity through community engagement.” 

Our research shows that the top schools tend to collect more in federal grant money than in undergraduate tuition, which is also subsidized by the federal government through loans, grants, and work study programs for students.


Other Congressional legislation proposes taxing the excessive endowments of wealthy colleges. Since 2017, excessive endowments are only subject to a 1.4-percent excessive endowments tax and not the 23.5-percent capital gains tax levied on wealthy Americans.

Last year, Senator J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) introduced a bill that would tax colleges with endowments over $10 billion at 35%.



Northwestern’s endowment soared during a period in which they collected more than $4 billion from taxpayers. Today, the endowment at Northwestern is estimated to be more than $15 billion.


Foreign Funding

U.S. taxpayers aren’t the only ones shelling out funds to the nation’s top schools; Northwestern has received nearly a billion dollars from foreign sources since 2007.


The biggest funder was Qatar: $689,586,983 flowed from the tiny Gulf nation to Northwestern. A part of these gifts are scholarships paid for by Qatar for Qataris to attend Northwestern.  


Then there was the $173 million in the form of a “restricted contract” conditional to Northwestern establishing a satellite, degree-conferring campus in its “Education City.”  


In addition to Northwestern, Education City also hosts Texas A&M, Georgetown, Virginia Commonwealth, Weill-Cornell Medicine and Carnegie-Mellon.

About $24 million in funds flowed from Saudi Arabia, and at least $2.2 million was specifically marked on restricted grants for scholarships to Saudi students.


Northwestern is the beneficiary of enormous taxpayer largess—but are they unabashedly American?


These foreign deals benefit foreign countries – who have seats saved for them. This allows Middle Eastern countries to leverage the institution’s vast resources.




How To Use Our Interactive Map: Just click the pin on the “state,” then scroll down to the chart beneath the map to search your college or university. You can search all disclosed foreign gifts since 1982 into U.S. higher education. 

(Since we mapped this, the U.S. Education Department removed the full database from its website. So much for transparency during a crisis.)



Northwestern is organized as an IRS 501(c)3 public educational charity. Under this status, the university receives billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer support and pays minimal taxes on its nearly $15 billion endowment and other investments.


On the other hand, Northwestern operates like a for-profit corporation cutting deals with foreign governments and entities.


Meanwhile, university leadership is allowing terrorist-sympathizing demonstrations on their campus, creating a hostile environment for Jewish students. This foreign involvement and domestic chaos deserve scrutiny from Congress, the press, and the American people.


The House Education and Workforce Committee will have an opportunity to probe all of it on Thursday, May 23, 2024. The hearing, “Calling for Accountability: Stopping Anti-Semitic College Chaos,” starts at 10:15am Eastern Time.



Mapping All Disclosed Foreign Gifts Into U.S. Higher Education Since 1982 | Interactive map by OpenTheBooks | May 20, 2024

$10 Million To Harvard, Brown And Others Flowed From The “State Of Palestine” | OpenTheBooks.Substack | May 8, 2024 

Wealthy, Elite Universities Like Harvard Taxed You $45 Billion In Last Five Years | OpenTheBooks.Substack | November 15, 2023

Ivy League, Inc. — Quantifying $42 Billion In U.S. Taxpayer Subsidies, Tax Breaks, And Federal Payments FY2010-FY2015 | OpenTheBooks Oversight Report | March 2017


Northwestern University Seal Attribution: By Northwestern University - "The Northwestern University seal... 'It sure looks Greek to me'" and  (download link), Public Domain


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