AMAtlas and Library
2018 VSE Highlights

2018 Voluntary Support of Education Survey Shows Charitable Support of U.S. Colleges and Universities Continuing to Rise

Based on responses to the annual VSE survey, CASE estimates that colleges and universities in the U.S. raised $46.73 billion during the 2018 academic fiscal year, 7.2 percent more than in 2017 and the highest amount ever raised.

The increase was buoyed by a strong stock market and overall economy during the period studied. In addition, the collective work of advancement professionals, who make the case for support, is essential to growth in philanthropic support of the nation's education institutions.

VSE 2018 Survey

Click on image above for online report.

Voluntary Support of Higher Education by Source, 2018 (Dollars in Billions)

Voluntary Support of Higher Education by Source 2018

Other Key Findings from the 2018 Survey Data:

Across-the-board increases from all donor types and for all general purposes

Gifts from every type of donor increased. Notably, gifts from the category "other organizations" increased 13.5 percent, nearly double the increase from any other type of donor. This category includes fundraising consortia, religious organizations, and, significantly, donor-advised funds.

Estimated Voluntary Support of Higher Education by Source and Purpose, 2017 and 2018 (Dollars in Millions)

Estimated Voluntary Support of Higher Education by Source and Purpose

Giving to current operations rose 6.2 percent, and giving for capital purposes rose 8.6 percent, both of which represent sizable increases over the previous survey period.

Nearly half the survey respondents responded to an optional question about donor-advised funds and indicated they had received 65.8 percent more in DAF payments in 2018 than in 2017.

Contributions from Donor-Advised Funds to 404 Reporting Institutions, 2017-2018 (Dollars in Millions)

Contributions from Donor-Advised Funds to 404 Reporting Institutions

Looking Ahead

This year's VSE encompassed the period during which the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act went into effect, U.S. tax reform legislation adopted in December 2017. Donors, wanting to take advantage of the old tax law, may have accelerated their giving to institutions as well as to DAFs in calendar-year 2017.

How the tax reform bill and shifts in the economy influence giving are areas meriting study. Throughout the year, AMAtlas will release research briefs that explore aspects of the findings in greater depth.

Download the first research brief in CASE's 2018 VSE results series.