A year ago I mentioned that the annual Council for Aid to Education (CAE) report on Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) indicated a declining trend in alumni participation:
The survey shows alumni participation falling from 12.4% percent in 2005 to 11.8% in 2006. The summary highlights the effect of larger graduating classes, longer life spans, and better record-keeping by advancement shops.
This year's report continues with the same observation, saying that private giving grew by 6.3% overall (in dollars), but adding that dollars from alumni and alumni participation both declined. There was a 1.5% decrease in dollars from alumni, and another 0.2% decline in participation. So the last three years' participation rates by alumni look like this:
- 2005: 12.4%
- 2006: 11.9% (evidently revised from the 11.8 reported last year)
- 2007: 11.7%
The main explanations for the declines are technological and demographic, and are not related to alumni attitudes. Nonetheless, they are continuing cause for concern, and Inside Higher Ed covers the story in some detail (link below).
Meanwhile, the United States league table of higher ed fundraising saw some shifts, with the University of Southern California moving up to third (from sixth, last year) on the strength of a 15.7% increase in fundraising. Johns Hopkins (Maryland) and Columbia (New York) moved up slightly, and UCLA (California) cracked the top ten as Wisconsin–Madison dropped from tenth to 13th.
Inside Higher Ed story about the 2008 VSE report
CAE News Page with this and other stories