CHICAGO (CBS) — In the race for the White House tonight – in fact, in the race all week – the big issue has been college, the prohibitive cost of tuition.

At the universities of Illinois and Chicago and Northwestern, the average tuition is more than $30,000 a year. The politicians are all a-flutter about that.

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Sorry, they say, they can’t help any more than they do. The universities are saying they can’t help more than they do.

But, oh yes, they can … if they want to. They can dig into their endowments, the money they stash away to invest on Wall Street.

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The U of I endowment is almost $2 billion; the U of C, more than $6 billion; Northwestern, $7 billion.

The schools kids dream about, but will never be able to afford, like Harvard and Yale and Princeton, total endowment is $70 billion that pays off an additional $13 billion a year in interest.

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Oh, those poor, poor, poor universities.