Land grants are a time-tested way for educational initiatives to obtain assets. Over the past 150 years, public and private sector land grants have helped endow more than 80 universities and colleges in North America — including Cornell, Michigan and Stanford (image at left) — as well as around the world.
Stanford's Research Park, initiated during the 1950s on a prime parcel of the university's private land grant, is recognized as the launch pad for California's Silicon Valley. Another land grant-based business and technology park, the world-known Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, has also produced exceptional benefits for its neighboring universities.
Private investors and developers are increasingly welcoming opportunities to participate in real estate development ventures benefiting the educational organizations (as direct landholders or holders of other partnership interests in the land grant area's development).
Private developers specializing in land grant developments are now undertaking substantial privately financed projects in Asia and the Americas at their own risk. In emerging economies, entrepreneurial schools are in excellent position to obtain land grant assets that have high potential for appreciation. Community and national support, diaspora donors and investors, and other well-wishers can help awaken the value of new land grant resources in coming years.
Land grant endowments for entrepreneurial schools and their allied scholarship/voucher funds represent a profound opportunity to assure funding for quality education in emerging economies, given that land values increase as market-valued skills spread in the community. In cases where the land grant areas also receive the benefit of world-class free economic zone incentives, after the model of ZonAmerica and Dubai, the value of once unproductive sites can rise tenfold or more in value.