Total charitable contributions to colleges and universities set a record in 2017, and Indiana University was among the top beneficiaries of that philanthropy.
At $43.6 billion, the total is the largest since the Council for Aid to Education started conducting its annual Voluntary Support of Education survey in 1957. More than a quarter of that total went to a small group of institutions.
The top 20 fundraising institutions make up less than 1 percent of all U.S. colleges and universities, but they accounted for about 28 percent of the total. Harvard University topped the list at $1.28 billion, followed by Stanford University at $1.13 billion and Cornell University at $743.5 million. IU’s $398.26 million was good enough for the No. 20 spot, making it one of only three Big Ten institutions in the group of top fundraisers. The University of Michigan and Ohio State University were ranked No. 15 and No. 19, respectively.
IU is consistently in or around the top 20, said Dan Smith, president and CEO of the IU Foundation.
He credits IU’s large body of alumni as an important factor in the university’s fundraising prowess. Alumni accounted for more than a quarter of all charitable giving to colleges and universities in 2017.IU has more than 650,000 living graduates, and many of them want to give back to the university because it changed their lives for the better, Smith said. “They want to make it affordable for others to have the experience they had,” he said.
Student scholarships and financial aid accounted for about 28 percent of the $178 million the IU Foundation distributed in fiscal year 2017. Faculty support and program research received the second-largest piece of that pie, at about 23 percent.