By Ada Fisher
North Carolina has made many strides in improving access to higher education, but more needs to be done.
Students from black and brown communities still too often face challenges on their way to earning a higher degree. Our nation’s policymakers must do everything in their power to equip students of color with the resources to meet these challenges, giving them a fair and direct path to a college degree, other opportunities for advancement, and knowledge for themselves and their families. One way to do this is to improve access to exchanges, which are often backed by investments in hedge funds.
Across the United States, including North Carolina, college and university endowments are investing in hedge funds as part of their mission to provide scholarships to aspiring students and keep tuition at a price. affordable. These endowments invest directly in hedge funds because they offer long-term return on investment and protections against volatility and risk. The returns generated by hedge funds can translate into increased scholarships for students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds who might not otherwise be able to afford a college education.
The link between hedge funds and college scholarships may not be well known, but it is vital for many North Carolina students. Any misguided regulatory proposals aimed at hedge funds will end up harming these students, potentially thwarting their academic aspirations before they start.
Each year, thousands of students of color attend the University of North Carolina, Wake Forest University, Duke University, and North Carolina’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which make up 10% of HBCU of the country. North Carolina’s flagship schools are educational leaders with extremely diverse student bases. For example, 30% of the student body at my alma mater UNC Greensboro is made up of people of color. Endowment funds UNC, Wake Forest and Duke invest nearly $4 billion in hedge funds on behalf of hundreds of thousands of students, many of whom come from diverse backgrounds.
As this number grows, so does the amount of scholarship available to Black students attending HBCUs. North Carolina A&T State University, a nationally recognized HBCU, is a member of the University of North Carolina Investment Fund (UNCIF), which invests in hedge funds. UNCIF’s return on hedge fund investments helps support students attending North Carolina’s A&T, which is not only the largest HBCU, but has one of the largest endowments of any HBCU from the country.
In addition to North Carolina’s A&T State, Livingstone College is also an HBCU benefiting from hedge fund investments, through the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). UNCF invests millions of dollars in hedge funds to help colleges like Livingstone award scholarships to deserving students.
Hedge funds have often been unfairly decried as Wall Street’s faceless suits. Don’t listen to message boards and misguided politicians; this portrayal could not be further from the truth. Hedge funds are Wall Street institutions whose work has direct and tangible benefits for North Carolinians, including first-generation college students and helping with the debt burden of many seeking education.
When DC policymakers and regulators come together to discuss new proposals that govern our financial system, they must see through the false narratives surrounding hedge funds and avoid policies designed to hinder their ability to perform in the markets. Failure to do so will cost North Carolina our next generation of leaders.
Ada Fisher is a former RNC national committee member from North Carolina and an advocate for historically black colleges and universities.