Donors pick up the tab as states reduce higher ed funding

When state dollars dry up, public universities often turn to donors. And lately, some of them have been experiencing record-breaking success.

For the University of Michigan that has been a lucrative effort, with the school announcing last week that it raised $5 billion through the “Victors for Michigan” capital campaign launched in 2013. The university highlighted its success, noting that — thanks to its 384,433 donors — Michigan it is the first public university to raise such an amount.

“The success of Victors for Michigan is further evidence of the power of the University of Michigan family, whose generosity makes excellence possible across the breadth of our three campuses and Michigan Medicine,” Michigan President Mark Schlissel said in a university news release.

While Michigan enjoys its success as king of the fundraising hill, it may be short-lived as the University of Washington aims to hit $5 billion by 2020 in its own ongoing capital campaign. Currently, UW is at $4.93 billion.

Michigan and Washington are hardly the only public institutions turning to donors to boost their bottom lines. Other major capital campaigns underway include $5 billion effort at the University of Virginia; $4.25 billion at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; $4.2 billion at the University of California, Los Angeles; $3 billion at both the University of Oregon and University of Florida, and so on.

Private institutions also have launched aggressive fundraising efforts, such as the $9.6 billion raked in by Harvard University, which is the most financially successful capital campaign to date.

Read the full story at Forbes.

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