Director of Communications
Feb. 21, 2007
Statement by John Lippincott, president, Council for Advancement and Support of Education
The 9.4 percent increase in giving to higher education in 2006, reflected in the results of the CASE-sponsored VSE survey released by the Council for Aid to Education, is the highest increase since 2000 and signals that philanthropic support for American higher education continues to grow at a healthy pace.
Thirty percent of the $28 billion total comes from alumni. While the number of alumni who give remains relatively flat, the 18 percent increase in the total amount given indicates that graduates are making larger investments in the future of their institutions. Although the alumni participation rate—the percentage of alumni with good contact information who give—continued a downward trend, a study by CASE has confirmed that this decline is due to the greater success colleges and universities are having as they identify “lost” and new alumni and include them in their databases. This success should translate over time into increases in alumni giving and participation as institutions reach out to and engage these rediscovered graduates.
Giving from individuals, whether they are alumni, non-alumni, or represented by family foundations or donor-advised funds, remains a mainstay of giving to higher education. It is notable, however, that giving to education from all sources, including corporations, foundations and other organizations, increased in 2006 and contributed to the $28 billion total.
The 2006 VSE confirms that the strong tradition of giving to higher education in the United States is bolstered by a solid economy as measured by a healthy stock market and Gross Domestic Product. Philanthropy in the United States is also encouraged and supported through tax and regulatory incentives, and at CASE we are seeing governments around the world begin to look at the U.S. model to grow private giving in their own countries. The most recent example was the Feb. 15 announcement by U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair to match private donations to universities in England with government funds.
In the United States, private gifts account for less than 10 percent of expenditures for higher education, so they do not replace the need for other forms of support from tuition, government funding, and grants, for example. And because most donors restrict their gifts for specific purposes, such as scholarships or facilities, most gifts do not support the general operation of a college or university. However, private gifts are a critical and valued source of support that allow our educational institutions to excel as they serve students and contribute to the American economy.
Participation in the VSE survey is voluntary and requires participating institutions to report their numbers following the CASE Management and Reporting Standards. We are pleased that participation in the VSE continued to grow in 2006.
For more information about the VSE survey, which is conducted annually with sponsorship support from CASE, go to the Council for Aid to Education's Web site at www.cae.org.
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.
CASE was founded in 1974 and maintains headquarters in Washington, D.C., with offices in London (CASE Europe, 1994), Singapore (CASE Asia-Pacific, 2007) and Mexico City (CASE América Latina, 2011).
Today, CASE’s membership includes more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 76 countries around the globe. This makes CASE one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations in terms of institutional membership. CASE serves more than 70,000 advancement professionals on the staffs of its member institutions and has more than 17,000 professional members on its roster.
To fulfill their missions and to meet both individual and societal needs, colleges, universities and independent schools rely on—and therefore must foster—the good will, active involvement, informed advocacy and enduring support of alumni, donors, prospective students, parents, government officials, community leaders, corporate executives, foundation officers and other external constituencies.
CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with all of these constituencies by providing relevant research, supporting growth in the profession and fostering support of education. CASE also offers a variety of advancement products and services, provides standards and an ethical framework for the profession and works with other organizations to respond to public issues of concern while promoting the importance of education worldwide.