Colleges, Universities Raked in Donations in 2011

Colleges, Universities Raked in Donations in 2011
  • Opening Intro -

    Colleges and universities all across the nation regularly solicit donations to fund their programs including those for capital purposes.

    In 2011 those donations came in at $30.30 billion, representing an 8.2 percent increase over 2010.


Survey reveals an 8.2 percent increase in gifts last year.

Adjusted for inflation the increase was 4.8 percent, according to the annual Voluntary Support of Education survey conducted by the Council for Aid to Education.

The increase is welcome news for higher education as funds have fallen or remained stagnant in recent years. Yet, the CAE notes that giving comprised just 6.5 percent of college expenditures in 2011 with giving designated to offset current year expenses at 3.8 percent of college expenditures.

Select Institutions Prosper

Some schools fared better than others, far better in some cases. The CAE focused on the top 20 colleges and universities that raised the most and found that these schools pulled in more than 25 percent of all donations. That collective amount, tallied at $8.24 billion, represents an 15.8 percent increase over 2010. Notably, the top 20 institutions represent just 2 percent of the 1,099 institutions that responded to the survey.

The nation’s top 20 fundraising universities (and dollars received) in 2011 are:

1. Stanford University ($709.42 million)
2. Harvard University ($639.15 million)
3. Yale University ($580.33 million)
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($534.34 million)
5. Columbia University ($495.56 million)
6. Johns Hopkins University ($485.41 million)
7. University of Pennsylvania ($437.72 million)
8. University of California–Los Angeles ($415.03 million)
9. University of California–San Francisco ($409.45 million)
10. University of Southern California ($402.41 million)
11. University of Texas at Austin ($354.34 million)
12. Duke University ($349.66 million)
13. New York University ($337.85 million)
14. University of Washington ($334.49 million)
15. University of Wisconsin–Madison ($315.77 million)
16. Cornell University ($315.53 million)
17. Indiana University ($295.90 million)
18. University of California–Berkeley ($283.35 million)
19. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ($274.95 million)
20. University of Minnesota ($272.57 million)

Drilling down, the CAE survey revealed that 25 percent of the institutions brought in 86.3 percent of the donations. The bottom 25 percent brought in just 1.0 percent with the middle 50 percent receiving 12.7 percent in 2011. Another way to look at it is that the top 50 percent pulled in 95.5 percent while the bottom 50 percent took in just 4.5 percent. Clearly, the lion’s share of donations goes to the most recognized institutions in America.

Stock Market Trends

The CAE also took note of how well the New York Stock Exchange performed in relation to the academic fiscal year that ends on June 30. Notably, on June 30, 2011, the NYSE had increased by 28.7 percent over the academic fiscal year, falling somewhat for the remainder of the 2011 calendar year. The CAE sees a correlation between invested wealth and donor contributions, with the stock market perhaps signaling the direction current and future donations patterns may take.

More InformationCouncil for Aid to Education: 2011 Voluntary Support of Education Survey

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