March 8, 2012

Top 20 Colleges in Fundraising: Who’s Best at Tapping Alumni?

Voluntary Support of Education survey shows the elite get biggest share of donations

While Duke's basketball team is frequently in the top 10, they weren't in this survey. (Photo: AP) While Duke's basketball team is frequently in the top 10, they weren't in this survey. (Photo: AP)

U.S. colleges and universities raised $30.3 billion in contributions in 2011, an increase of 8.2% over a year earlier, according to the annual Voluntary Support of Education survey released last week by the Council for Aid to Education.

Adjusted for inflation, giving increased by 4.8%, the CAE said in a statement.

Giving for capital purposes increased by 13.6% (10.1%, adjusted for inflation), and for current operations, it grew by 4.7% (1.4%).

Voluntary support last year came from foundations (28.6%), alumni (25.7%), unaffiliated individuals (18.6%), corporations (16.6%), religious organizations (1%) and other organizations (9.4%).

The growth in charitable contributions, welcome though it is after several years of stagnant or decreased giving, looks more sobering in context, however. Giving accounted for just 6.5% of college expenditures in 2011, and giving for current operations, the dollars that can be used immediately to offset current-year expenses, accounted for 3.8% of expenditures.

The top 20 college and university fundraisers received $8.2 billion in 2011–15.8% more than they raised in 2010. This elite group does not comprise exactly the same institutions as the top 20 in 2010. The former raised 15.3% more than the latter in 2010.

The 2011 top 20 represent 2% of the 1,009 survey respondents, yet they received more than a quarter of all 2011 gifts to higher education institutions. Moreover, the increase in giving to these 20 institutions (some $1.1 billion) accounts for nearly half of the increase ($2.3 billion) to all institutions.

The top 20 colleges and universities:

University of Minnesota marching band. (Photo: AP)20.  University of Minnesota

— ($272.6 million)
— 11.3% increase over 2010
— Ranked 21 in 2010

19.  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

— ($275 million)
— 3% increase over 2010
— Ranked 18 in 2010

Sproul Hall in background at UC-Berkley. (Photo: AP)18.  University of California-Berkeley

— ($283.4 million)
— 7.9% decrease from 2010
— Ranked 14 in 2010

17.  Indiana

— ($295.9 million)
— 13.7% decrease from 2010
— Ranked 10 in 2010

Cornell's McGraw Tower. (Photo: AP)16.  Cornell

— ($315.5 million)
— 2.4% increase over 2010
— Ranked 13 in 2010

15.  University of Wisconsin-Madison

— ($315.8 million)
— 1.3% increase over 2010
— Ranked 12 in 2010

At University of Washington, students walk near Suzzallo Library. (Photo: AP)14.  University of Washington

— ($334.5 million)
— 17.3% increase over 2010
— Ranked 16 in 2010

13.  New York University

— ($337.9 million)
— 3.3% decrease from 2010
— Ranked 8 in 2010

Duke fans cheering basketball team. (Photo: AP)12.  Duke

— ($349.7 million)
— 1.2% increase over 2010
— Ranked 9 in 2010

11.  University of Texas at Austin

— ($354.3 million)
— 50.6% increase over 2010
— Ranked 22 in 2010

USC campus.10.  USC

— ($402.4 million)
— 5.5% decrease from 2010
— Ranked 4 in 2010

9.  University of California-San Francisco

— ($409.5 million)
— 52.3% increase over 2010
— Ranked 17 in 2010

Student in front of UCLA's Powell Library. (Photo: AP)8.  UCLA

— ($415 million)
— 21.9% increase over 2010
— Ranked 11 in 2010

7.  University of Pennsylvania

— ($437.7 million)
— 14.7% increase over 2010
— Ranked 6 in 2010

Johns Hopkins, who the university is named for.6.  Johns Hopkins

— ($485.4 million)
— 13.5% increase over 2010
— Ranked 3 in 2010

5.  Columbia

— ($495.6 million)
— 23.2% increase over 2010
— Ranked 5 in 2010

MIT campus.4.  MIT

— ($534.3 million)
74% increase over 2010
Ranked 15 in 2010

3.  Yale

— ($580.3 million)
— 52.4% increase over 2010
— Ranked 7 in 2010

2.  Harvard

— ($639.2 million)
— 7.1% increase over 2010
— Ranked 2 in 2010

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