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The way it was explained to me was that the professors (in some disciplines more than others) have extensive business connections that enable them to make large amounts of money. One example: a student was a major in polymers (plastics i guess?). Her professor assigned her and some classmates numerous “group research projects” in which they would analyze different polymers for things like durability, weight, heat sensitivity etc. Only some students were given these projects and they were never graded on them. The students were convinced that an outside company was paying the professor for this research. Students were not even particularly angry or disappointed about this arrangement. They basically explained it as “what are you gonna do? Refuse the professor? Report him?”