Donations to colleges and universities increased nearly 11 percent to $20.4 billion last year – the lowest percentage increase in four years, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.
The $20.4 billion sum was the highest total reported in the 20 years the Council for Aid to Education has surveyed higher education giving trends, the Chronicle reports.
The survey found a three percent decline in giving to private elementary and secondary schools, but researchers cautioned that since only one-third of private schools were surveyed, the sample may not be representative.
Officials blamed a weaker stock market for the decline in giving. David Morgan, the council’s vice-president for research and information services, said market volatility causes some donors to delay their contributions.
The single biggest source of gifts to colleges and private schools continues to be alumni, who provided 30 percent of higher-education gifts last year, the Chronicle reports.
Private school alumni are the most dedicated contributors. Last year, their gifts accounted for 40 percent of all private school donations.