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Higher ed holds own

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Contributions to colleges, universities steady.

By Todd Cohen

[05.04.04] Fueled by growth in alumni giving, contributions to U.S. colleges and universities held at $23.9 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2003, after slipping more than 1 percent a year earlier, a new survey says.

Alumni giving grew 11.9 percent to $6.6 billion, or 28 percent of overall charitable giving to higher education, up from $5.9 billion or 25 percent, a year earlier, says the annual Voluntary Support of Education survey by RAND’s Council for Aid to Education in New York City.

After falling 13.6 percent in fiscal 2002, when it trailed foundation giving for the first time in 25 years, alumni giving in fiscal 2003 equaled foundation giving, which grew 4.8 percent from $6.3 billion in 2002, or 26 percent of overall giving.

“That’s good news because alumni really are the foundation of higher-education fundraising,” says Ann Kaplan, survey director.

Giving by individuals other than alumni and by corporations both fell, with non-alumni giving plunging 15.7 to $4.6 billion, its sharpest decline in at least three decades, and corporate support falling 2.7 percent to $4.3 billion.

While corporate support fell, corporate pre-tax income grew slightly, although increases in corporate giving typically trail increases in income by a year, the council says.

The survey does not report corporate support of higher education that is not charitable, including clinical trials, contracted sponsored research and some partnership programs that team corporations and colleges and universities.

The market value of endowments at institutions responding to the survey grew 4.3 percent after falling 7.1 percent in 2002 and 6.4 percent in 2001.

“While not a dramatic increase, given the erosions of endowments in recent years, this increase is a sign that institutions may have a better year in 2004,” says Kaplan.

Gifts of securities to colleges and universities fell in 2003, with the number of gifts dropping 17.3 percent, compared to a 20 percent decline in 2002, and the value of those gifts falling 21.2 percent, compared to a 35 percent decline in 2002.

The average gift of stock reported on the survey was $34,219, down from $42,066 in 2000, when the value of and number of stock gifts reached record highs.

Gifts from religious groups totaled $360 million, the same as in 2002, while gifts from organizations such as donor-advised funds, United Ways and other funding federations fell 1.9 percent to $1.5 billion after growing 8.3 percent in 2002, more than any other source.

Colleges and universities raising the most money were Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., $555.6 million; Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., $486 million, and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, $399.6 million.

The top endowments for colleges and universities were at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., $19.3 billion; Yale University in New Haven, Conn., $11.1 billion; and Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., $8.7 billion.

Independent schools raising the most were The Culver Educational Foundation at Culver Academies in Culver, Ind., $34.6 million; Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., $27 million; and Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., $24.3 million.

The top endowments for independent schools were at Phillips Exeter Academy, $558.3 million; Phillips Academy, $490.7 million; and St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., $311.2 million.

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