Donation Pleas Are Preceding Diplomas

Ann McClure's picture

University alumni groups have always eagerly welcomed new grads to their loyal ranks.

But as a stagnant economy and state funding cutbacks up the ante for private fundraising to boost financial aid, development offices and foundations for public institutions are taking a page from private schools that long have connected with potential donors before they even graduate.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison solicits pledges from seniors while they're still immersed in the college experience and before they start paying back their loans. This was the second year for UW-Madison's IGave Campaign for graduating seniors.

Private donations increasingly are being relied upon to fund need-based financial aid as state funding is reduced, said Alisa Robertson, who oversees marketing for the UW-Madison Foundation.

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