In the 2011 white paper on education, CASE welcomes the focus and attention on the increasing significance of voluntary giving as a powerful source of income for higher education institutions. We are seeing a change in behaviour and attitudes among alumni and other supporters towards giving to higher education, with growing numbers of donors and gifts. This is due, in part, to the momentum of the Matched Funding Scheme for Voluntary Giving and we welcome the government's fulfilment of this commitment.
Raising philanthropic income in the middle of the deepest recession in two generations is no mean feat! Amid short-term financial pressures we caution the sector to stand firm by their investment in development and alumni relations—this is a long-term activity and needs to become integral to the higher education community for it to bear ongoing fruit. We welcome the fiscal measures proposed to benefit philanthropy but stress that donors are motivated to give by understanding the impact of their gifts more than by external mechanisms to increase them.
We urge the government to reconsider any early repayment penalty linked to the proposed student finance arrangements, however, which would act as a disincentive to future alumni giving. We welcome the role that voluntary giving can play in supporting the national scholarship scheme. Donors, however, are more likely to have an affinity to an individual institution than to a generic scheme.
The next phase for UK universities takes us into unchartered waters. But we now have the evidence that philanthropy is resuming its historic role as a transformative power within education.
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