Charitable contributions to U.S. colleges and universities grew 6.3 percent in 2007, to $29.75 billion, compared to an average increase over the last ten years of 6.5 percent, a new study released by the New York City-based Council for Aid to Education finds.
According to results of the annual Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey, the twenty institutions that raised the most in 2007 received a total of $7.66 billion — $518.34 million more than they raised in 2006. The list was topped by Stanford University, which raised $832.4 million, followed by Harvard University ($614 million), the University of Southern California ($469.7 million), Johns Hopkins University ($430.5 million), Columbia University ($423.9 million), Cornell University ($406.9 million), the University of Pennsylvania ($392.4 million), Yale University ($391.3 million), Duke University ($372.3 million), and the University of California, Los Angeles ($364.8 million).
The survey also found that alumni giving declined by 1.5 percent in 2007 — though it was 16.5 percent higher than in 2005. Alumni participation also declined — from 11.9 percent to 11.7 percent — which the study attributes in part to a 4.1 percent increase in the number of alumni of record but only a 1.9 percent increase in the number of alumni donors.
"Younger individuals tend to give less frequently, and they make smaller contributions," said survey director Ann E. Kaplan. "[The] demographic shift in the composition of the alumni pool helps to explain the decline in participation. It also explains why giving from alumni in dollar terms does not decline every year, even when participation steadily drops."