Donations playing more pivotal role in higher education

Tim Goral's picture

Fundraising and building endowments have long been part of the financial strategy for private colleges and universities. But largely stagnant state resources have increased their importance for public universities as they try to hold down tuition costs, maintain access and leverage state dollars.

That's why the record-setting $19.5 million fundraising effort in the last fiscal year was such good news for Illinois State University.

“The need to see financial support from alumni, corporate partners and university stakeholders is now more important than ever, and the impact of that support is greater than ever,” ISU President Larry Dietz said when the total was announced last month.

Even two-year schools, such as Heartland Community College, are establishing foundations and beefing up fundraising activities.

Chris Downing, Heartland's executive director of development and the foundation, said 95 percent of the money raised through the foundation goes to scholarships.

Fundraising and foundations also remain important to private institutions, for everything from scholarships to campus buildings.

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