Private Giving Hits Record Total

Contributions to colleges rose by 4.9 percent in 2005, a second straight increase.
February 17, 2006

Contributions to American colleges and universities rose by 4.9 percent in 2005, to a total of $25.6 billion, the Council for Aid to Education said in a report Thursday. The total was the highest ever.

The council's annual Voluntary Support of Education survey, which tracks giving to higher education and private elementary and secondary schools, struck a generally positive tone, noting that the overall increase in giving was the second straight uptick after two years of decrease, in 2002 and 2003.

“The 2005 survey results indicate that higher education fund raising has firmly recovered from weak performances in 2002 and 2003," said Ann E. Kaplan, who directs the survey for CAE. "The growth over the past two years is a positive sign that individuals and institutions respond to increases in their own capacity to give by increasing their support for the nation’s colleges and universities.”

But amid the overall upturn, the survey found a mix of results. While giving by alumni rose by 6 percent, to $7.1 billion from $6.7 billion (accounting for about 27 percent of the overall private support for higher education), the proportion of alumni who made gifts fell by 12.4 percent, continuing a several-year drop from 13.8 percent in 2001.

So while the size of the average gift increased, it appears that fewer alumni felt compelled to contribute to their alma maters. (Kaplan offered some alternative explanations for the drop in alumni participation, though, including technological and other improvements in alumni record keeping that could increase the number of alumni that colleges know about,without necessarily increasing the number of donors.)

Contributions by individuals who are not alumni also declined, by 3.8 percent from 2004 to 2005, after increasing by 21.5 percent from 2003 to 2004.

The increase in support from foundations, which rose to $7 billion from $6.2 billion in 2004, was accompanied in a leveling off of direct gifts from corporations, which remained constant at $4.4 billion.

Much of the rise in giving was concentrated in a relatively small number of institutions, said Kaplan, who noted that the "increase in giving to just the top 10 universities accounts for half of the total growth in higher education giving in 2005.”

And one major grant -- $296 million to the University of Wisconsin at Madison's medical school, which resulted from the conversion of Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin from nonprofit to for-profit status -- represented more than a third of the growth in foundation giving to higher education institutions.

One institution just outside the Top 10 -- the University of California at Los Angeles -- announced Thursday that it had completed the first $3 billion campaign by an institution of higher education.

Following are several tables that show where the money went, by sector of higher education, and then the leading institutional recipients of the funds, over all and in several categories.

Voluntary Support by Type of Institution, 2004 and 2005

  2004 2005  
Institution type    Total gifts ($000s) Total gifts ($000s) % change from 2004
Research/ Doctoral $14,328,972 $15,522,803 6.3%
--Private 6,767,559 6,999,422 6.5
--Public 7,561,413 8,523,381 8.0
Master's 1,897,424 2,039,175 3.9
--Private 1,170,463 1,226,285 1.3
--Public 726,961 812,890 8.2
Liberal Arts 2,380,908 2,509,859 6.5
--Private 2,314,556 2,482,184 7.6
--Public 66,352 27,675 -53.7
Specialized 889,796 692,609 -24.4
--Private 442,438 299,269 -33.9
--Public 447,357 393,340 -15.6
2-Year 132,735 175,600 10.2
--Private 10,338 5,665 -31.5
--Public 122,397 169,935 13.8
Total, all Institutions $19,629,834 $20,940,046 3.1

Top 25 Institutions in Private Giving, 2005

Stanford U $603,585,914
U of Wisconsin at Madison 595,215,891
Harvard U 589,861,000
U of Pennsylvania 394,249,685
Cornell U 353,931,403
Columbia U 341,140,986
U of Southern California 331,754,481
Johns Hopkins U 323,100,408
Indiana U 301,060,946
U of California at San Francisco 292,932,382
Yale U 285,706,955
U of California at Los Angeles 281,552,472
Duke U 275,815,542
U of Minnesota 265,498,507
U of Washington 259,118,639
U of Michigan 251,353,272
New York U 247,126,717
Massachusetts Inst of Tech 206,007,428
Ohio State U 204,598,172
U of California, Berkeley 198,863,654
Purdue U 183,672,193
U of Chicago 180,462,601
U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 179,300,321
U of Virginia 174,370,854
Princeton U 165,339,982

Top 25 Community Colleges in Private Giving, 2005

Indian River CC (Fla.) $11,168,000
Maricopa CC District (Ariz.) 7,630,501
Santa Rosa JC (Fla.) 6,278,633
Gulf Coast CC (Fla.) 5,771,112
Sinclair CC (Ohio) 5,414,686
SUNY Westchester  CC 5,334,026
Montgomery C (Md.) 5,295,664
Vincennes U (Ind.) 5,084,986
Broward CC (Fla.) 3,952,515
Valencia CC (Fla.) 3,946,154
Delta C (Mich.) 3,897,221
Cuyahoga CC (Ohio) 3,456,057
Kirkwood CC Fdn (Mo.) 3,060,548
Sandhills CC (Fla.) 2,944,578
Northwestern Michigan C 2,922,952
SUNY Monroe CC 2,859,891
U of Arkansas at Fort Smith 2,845,418
Lake Michigan C 2,839,355
Harrisburg Area CC (Pa.) 2,806,600
Palm Beach CC (Fla.) 2,510,651
Northampton CC (Mass.) 2,464,485
Dallas County CC District (Tex.) 2,419,059
Reinhardt C (Ga.) 2,312,364
Ranken Tech C (Mo.) 2,296,130
SUNY C of Tech at Canton 2,267,975

Top 25 Liberal Arts Colleges in Private Giving, 2005

Wellesley C $88,617,686
Hillsdale C 48,171,418
Colgate U 41,185,059
Middlebury C 40,545,723
Smith C 36,235,627
Williams C 35,434,191
Bowdoin C 34,809,867
Davidson C 34,570,740
Mount Holyoke C 32,517,216
Amherst C 31,249,933
Mills C 31,179,483
Pomona C 30,727,167
Wesleyan U 30,562,402
Dickinson C 29,673,606
C of the Holy Cross 28,041,764
Colby C 27,796,099
Bryn Mawr C 27,670,550
Vassar C 27,397,787
Berea C 25,401,575
Barnard C 23,853,769
Wheaton C 23,504,773
Bucknell U 23,438,201
Berry C 23,143,478
DePauw U 22,765,818
Oberlin C 22,691,869


Be the first to know.
Get our free daily newsletter.


Back to Top