University contributions down

NEW YORK - Charitable contributions to colleges and universities declined by 11.9 percent overall across the United States in 2009, according to a press release from the Council for Aid to Education. The sharpest decline was in donations to capital projects and endowments, while donations for general operations were down mildly, the release said.

Total giving was $27.85 billion, according to a voluntary survey conducted by the council, a nonprofit organization. The University of Michigan was among the top 20 fundraising universities, at $263 million, the release said. Stanford University topped the list at $640 million. The report did not include each university's comparable figures from the previous year.

On average, contributions to capital projects declined by 25 percent, while giving for current operations fell less than 1 percent. Although the number of college alumni increased by 3 percent overall, the number of graduates who contribute to their alma mater declined by 5.6 percent, the report said.

The decline was expected, due to the national economy, Ann E. Kaplan, survey director, was quoted in the press release.

In Michigan, the 27 colleges and universities that participated in the survey reported 2009 charitable contributions ranging from $263 million at the University of Michigan to $763,000 at Lake Michigan College.

Council for Aid to Education, "Contributions to Colleges and Universities Down 11.9 Percent to $27.85 Billion," Feb. 3, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Higher Education 'Underinvestment' Provides a Return," Dec. 28, 2009