Giving to Colleges and Universities Reaches Historic High
Posted June 1st, 2014

Giving to Colleges and Universities Reaches Historic High

After reaching a previous record high in 2008, giving to colleges and universities fell sharply during the Great Recession. Five years later, giving has not only recovered but has reached its highest level to date.

giving to colleges and universities reaches historic highIn its annual Voluntary Support of Education survey of colleges and universities, the Council for Aid to Education (CAE) found that giving for fiscal year 2013 was up 9 percent (7 percent when adjusted for inflation). Income from bequests was up 11 percent, outpacing the overall rate of growth.

The total raised by colleges and universities during the period was $33.8 billion, the largest amount recorded in the history of the survey and the most since the years before the Great Recession.

Almost 60 percent of respondents reported raising more in fiscal year 2013 than in the year before. Ann E. Kaplan, director of the survey, attributes the rise in giving to the performance of the stock market during the period and to the general economic recovery.

Individual giving.

Giving by alumni accounted for 26.6 percent of all giving, up from 24.8 percent in 2012. Giving from non-alumni individuals represented 18.3 percent of total giving in 2013, meaning that giving from individuals (not including corporations, foundations, etc.) made up 44.9 percent of all giving last year.

Alumni giving last year rose 16.9 percent (14.7 percent when adjusted for inflation) over fiscal year 2012, while giving by  non-alumni individuals rose 6.4 percent (4.4 percent when adjusted for inflation).

Other sources of giving.

Giving from other sources was up as well, with the exception of corporate gifts, which fell slightly (2.9 percent, or 4.7 percent when adjusted for inflation). Gifts from foundations, religious and other organizations saw gains ranging from 9.1 percent to  14.3 percent (7.0 to 12.1 when adjusted for inflation). While  bequest income was up 11 percent, the present value of trusts and other deferred gifts was flat.


The rise in stock market values led to growth of the endowments at many colleges and universities. Institutions that reported to both the 2012 and 2013 surveys saw an average increase in endowment values of 9.8 percent.

Top institutions.

The ten institutions that had the most success in fundraising in fiscal year 2013 accounted for 17.3 percent of all gifts.  Top among these was Stanford University, which raised  $931.57 million. Rounding out the top ten were Harvard University, University of Southern California, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, New York University, Yale University and Duke University.bequests and present value of deferred gifts

The full report is available for purchase at

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