• April 25, 2014

With Large Ads, Carnegie Corp. Calls for Federal Aid for Higher Education

The Carnegie Corporation of New York is spending thousands of dollars on advertisements in the hope of reaping billions in aid to colleges in return.

With Congress in the midst of crafting a multibillion-dollar economic-stimulus bill, the charitable organization has taken out double-page ads in today’s New York Times and Washington Post asking lawmakers to devote 5 percent of the money — roughly $40-billion to $45-billion — to building or rebuilding the infrastructure of higher education. The statement is signed by more than 40 college presidents, chancellors, and trustees.

The corporation, a grant-making foundation whose mission is to promote “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding,” won’t say how much it paid to publish the statement, which argues that colleges are keys to the nation’s economic recovery and competitiveness. Advertising rates vary by the size of an ad, its placement in the paper, and whether or not it is in color. But it costs a little over $25,000 to take out a full-page ad in the front of the A section of the weekday Washington Post, which gives nonprofit advertisers a discount, and it costs significantly more to take out a similar-size ad in The New York Times. The exact amount paid by the Carnegie Corporation for the black-and-white ads could not immediately be calculated.

The statement argues that putting money into classrooms and research facilities through block grants to the states would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and would “have a direct and immediate impact on economic activity beyond the dollars expended,” while improving the nation’s competitiveness.

“The present economic crisis requires an investment in human capital, and graduates of public universities historically have provided most of the work force to meet the nation’s needs,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of the corporation, in an e-mail message that quotes from the statement.

But the corporation, and the universities it’s supporting, may have to get in line. Hundreds of groups, including other higher-education associations, have sent appeals to Congress for stimulus aid, and the list of needs keeps growing. —Kelly Field

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