December 20, 2010
Utah universities hang on as nationwide contributions decline
(Michael De Groote, Deseret News)– While donations to colleges and universities saw the greatest decline nationwide in more than 50 years, Utah universities are holding their own and some are even seeing increases in contributions.
The Council for Aid to Education’s annual “Voluntary Support of Education” survey found an 11.9 percent decline in contributions in 2009. Information provided by several of Utah’s universities and colleges, however, tells a more nuanced story.
Many things can affect donation amounts. A capital campaign, for instance, will bring more attention to a university’s needs. The proposal of a new building draws donations — sometimes even naming rights. And, as in the case with Utah Valley Community College, becoming a university can bring an outpouring of support from a community.
But nothing is bulletproof against a down economy.
“We did experience a dip in giving last year,” said Marc Archambault, vice president for development and alumni at Utah Valley University. “We had more success with some gifts, but overall cash gifts were down.”
Fred Esplin, the vice president for institutional advancement at the University of Utah, tells a different story: “Even during the recession we’ve seen growth in both the number of donors and the amount of money they have given to the university.” Esplin said private giving is up $2.7 million so far this fiscal year.
Things may be turning around for UVU as well. “We see a significant rise in giving this year. We see it coming up to about where it was in 2007 and 2008 — and maybe even exceeding that. … What has been especially encouraging is we have seen a significant increase in overall giving in a couple of important categories,” Archambault said. “For each of the last three years we’ve seen the number of donors climb. … That is a good thing and is liable to persist as the economy improves.”
But even if the economy improves, there are some economic challenges for universities.
Click here to read this article in its entirety from the Deseret News.Posted by: psilberman