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
|Institution type||Total gifts ($000s)||Total gifts ($000s)||% change from 2004|
|Total, all Institutions||$19,629,834||$20,940,046||3.1|
Top 25 Institutions in Private Giving, 2005
|U of Wisconsin at Madison||595,215,891|
|U of Pennsylvania||394,249,685|
|U of Southern California||331,754,481|
|Johns Hopkins U||323,100,408|
|U of California at San Francisco||292,932,382|
|U of California at Los Angeles||281,552,472|
|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|
|U of Chicago||180,462,601|
|U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||179,300,321|
|U of Virginia||174,370,854|
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
|Mount Holyoke C||32,517,216|
|C of the Holy Cross||28,041,764|
|Bryn Mawr C||27,670,550|