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ERIC Number: EJ855256
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr-3
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Colleges' Billion-Dollar Campaigns Feel the Economy's Sting
Masterson, Kathryn
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n30 pA1 Apr 2009
The economy's collapse has caught up with the billion-dollar campaign. In the past 12 months, the amount of money raised by a dozen of the colleges engaged in higher education's biggest fund-raising campaigns fell 32 percent from the year before. The decline, which started before the worst of the recession, has forced colleges to postpone expansion plans, readjust their budgets, and ask better-off donors to expedite pledge payments. If the slump continues, experts say, more serious cutbacks could come. It's a situation institutions can't ignore as they look to private giving to make up for huge endowment losses and declining government support. The economic volatility is causing donors--even some of the wealthiest, who are normally insulated from downturns--to postpone gifts or rethink the timing and size of future donations. In response to the tough climate, colleges are shifting priorities from capital projects to student aid, hiring more fund raisers, and looking for any way to get in front of their most loyal supporters. The Chronicle's findings, which come from fund-raising totals reported by the 12 colleges that have been in billion-dollar campaigns since 2007, follow a February report from the Council for Aid to Education, which said fund raisers started hitting a wall early this year. The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University also saw a big drop in the number of million-dollar donations to nonprofit organizations over all in the second half of 2008. The 12 colleges included in the analysis raised almost $4-billion between February 2007 and January 2008. From then until the end of this January, the last month data were available, gifts and pledges to those colleges dropped to $2.713-billion. Each six-month period since February 2007 has shown a deeper decline. From February through July 2007, institutions brought in $2.1-billion. During the latest six-month stretch, from August 2008 through January, they raised about a billion less. Four colleges had declines of more than 40 percent: (1) Cornell University (minus 55 percent); (2) the University of Virginia (minus 48 percent); (3) Dartmouth College (minus 44 percent); and (4) Columbia University (minus 43 percent). The University of Pittsburgh, Brown University, the University of Maryland at College Park, and Yale University also went down. Three institutions posted gains, and one stayed flat. Even in these uncertain times, colleges are still announcing big campaigns, with some using the downturn and the country's financial restructuring to bolster the case for higher education.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A