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Giving to Colleges and Universities Up in 2007

March 3, 2008

Contributions to postsecondary institutions in the United States increased by 6.3 percent to $29.8 billion in 2007, according to the Council for Aid to Education’s annual Voluntary Support of Education survey. The annual survey tracks all sources of giving to higher education and includes data from 1,023 four-year institutions.

Though contributions to higher education increased overall, the 20 institutions that received the largest total contributions in 2007 accounted for almost 30 percent of the increase and nearly 26 percent of the total contributions to higher education institutions in 2007. The top five fundraising universities for 2007 are: Stanford University, Harvard University, University of Southern California, Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University.

The percentage of alumni donating has been steadily decreasing since 2001. This trend is not surprising, as enrollment in the nation’s colleges and universities has been dramatically increasing, resulting in a much younger pool of alumni, who typically give less frequently and in smaller amounts than older alums. Despite this trend, alumni giving has still increased more than 25 percent over the past five years, as the average amount donated has gone up. However, foundation giving showed the most dramatic gains in 2007, increasing 19.7 percent to $8.5 billion, with family foundations comprising over a third of this amount, fueling the overall increase in foundation giving.

The results of the survey along with a full analysis of the trends will be published in the spring of 2008 and made available through the Council for Aid to Education’s Web site.

Source: Council for Aid to Education, 2008