The most cutting jokes are the ones with a bit of truth behind them. While the increasingly popular quip that “colleges are just real-estate hedge funds with classes attached” may inspire eye rolls, recent moves are making the joke cut deeper.
In January, the University of California system — one of the largest public-university systems in the world and where I teach — made a $4 billion investment in the Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust fund, one of the world’s largest real-estate funds. The massive investment came just weeks after the fund, known as BREIT, came under fire for limiting how much investors could pull out of it. But these liquidity concerns didn’t scare off UC, which committed to keep its investment with BREIT for at least six years.
And the University of California system isn’t alone in its ambitions — universities across the country have invested in or bought