Colleges and universities in the U.S. raised $30.3 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, up 8.2 percent over 2010, but still $1.3 billion shy of the historical high posted in 2008, a new study says.
After adjusting for inflation, the 2011 fundraising increase slid to 4.8 percent, but outpaced a flat year in fiscal 2010 and a drop of nearly 12 percent in 2009, says the Voluntary Support of Education survey, published by the Council for Aid to Education.
"The philanthropic spirit is deeply engrained in people, and higher education institutions provide programs that speak to a wide range of philanthropic interests," Ann E. Kaplan, director of the survey, says in a statement.
"In that way, these institutions can and should make the case for support even when the economy is weak," she says. "Thereby, when the capacity to give increases, the stage is set for giving to follow suit."
Stanford University once again topped the list, which this year included 1,009 survey respondents that raised $709.4 million in 2011, up 18.5 percent from 2010.
Harvard again ranked second, raising $639.2 million, up 7.1 percent, while Yale brought in $580.3 million, a spike of 52.4 percent over 2010 that propelled the school into third place from seventh.
Fundraising earmarked for buildings, endowments and other capital expenses grew 13.6 percent in 2011, or 10.1 percent after adjusting for inflation, while giving for current operations rose 4.7 percent, or 1.4 percent after adjusting for inflation.
And for fiscal 2011, fundraising covered only 6.4 percent of the overall college and university expenses, while giving for current operations covered only 3.8 percent of current-year expenses.
Fundraising in 2011 was concentrated at the top of the ranking, with the 20 leading institutions, which together represent 2 percent of schools surveyed, raising 27.2 percent of all funds donated.
The increase among the top 20 from 2010 to 2011 also outpaced the pack, surging 15.8 percent, and represented almost half the increase in dollars raised by all colleges and universities.
Similarly, the top 25 percent of schools together brought in 86.3 percent of all dollars raised in 2011, while the bottom 25 percent raised only 1 percent of the total.
Overall, 58.1 percent of schools surveyed reported an increase in giving in 2011, up from 51.7 percent in 2010 and only 33 percent in 2009.
Alumni giving, which accounted for 25.7 percent of all fundraising last year, climbed 9.9 percent to $7.8 billion in 2011, while donations from non-alumni individuals rose 14.8 percent to $5.7 billion, or 18.6 percent of overall giving.
Foundations, which account for the largest share of private support at 28.6 percent, gave $8.7 billion in 2011, up 3.3 percent over 2010, while giving by corporations rose 6.1 percent to reach $5 billion and accounted for 16.6 percent of overall giving.
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