Happy days are here again, if the boasts of college fundraisers are any indication.
Penn State is the latest institution of higher learning to claim a fundraising record as it wraps up a seven-year campaign that piled nearly $2.2 billion into its coffers. According to the university, it received donations from 167,500 alumni — a national record. Also, it claims the fundraiser was among the top 12 ever by a public university.
As the major stock market indices have made their climb to pre-recession levels, so too has charitable giving to U.S. colleges and universities. The Council for Aid to Education reported that the level and volume of gifts for 2013 totaled $33.8 billion, another record. The previous record was $31.6 billion, set in 2008 before dipping to $27.85 billion in 2009 and gradually climbing again.
Aside from Penn State, several universities have claimed records recently:
- The University of Texas announced that it raised $396 million during the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2013, breaking its previous record of $366 million, set in 2008. Through seven years of its planned eight-year "Campaign for Texas," the university has raised $2.83 billion of its $3-billion goal.
- Texas A&M University raised a record $740 million in the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013.
- In January, Columbia University reported an Ivy League record campaign — $6.1 billion — for a fundraiser that began in 2006. That broke the $4.3-billion record set by the University of Pennsylvania in December 2012.
- Stanford University raised $6.23 billion in a capital campaign that ended in 2011, surpassing its goal of $4.3 billion. Stanford touted the total as the largest sum ever collected by a higher-education institution in a single campaign.
- Harvard University has set a goal that would break that record — $6.5 billion — for a fundraising campaign that ends in 2018. In its so-called quiet phase, presumably before the hard-selling began, the campaign had raised $2.8 billion.
- Cornell University raised a record $475 million during the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013, as part of its "Cornell Now" campaign, which has a $4.75 billion goal through 2015.
- Boston University raised $116.9 million for its 2013 fiscal year, breaking its annual fundraising record of $89 million set in 2011.
For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, Stanford raised the most in the U.S.— $931.6 million — the Council for Aid to Education, or CAE, reported. Harvard was No. 2, with $792.3 million, followed by the University of Southern California at $674.51 million, Columbia University at $646.66 million, and Johns Hopkins University at $518.57 million.
Rounding out the top 10 were the University of Pennsylvania, $506.61 million, at No. 6; Cornell University, $474.96 million; New York University, $449.34 million; Yale University, $444.17 million; and Duke University at $423.66 million.
As CAE notes, the value of stocks affect the level and volume of gifts. And not surprisingly, the record college and university giving was paired with double-digit increases in the major stock benchmarks for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013. The S&P was up 17.6%, the NYSE was up 16.3%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 15.8%, and the Nasdaq was up 15.3%.
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