Charitable dollars for higher ed increased 12.5% in FY22


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Dive Brief:

  • Charitable donations to higher education institutions in the 2022 fiscal year increased 12.5% to $59.5 billion, up from $52.9 billion the previous year, according to an annual report from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
  • Giving from both groups and individuals rose in 2022. Organizational contributions swelled by 14.6%, while donations from alumni and nonalumni increased by 10.2% and 8%, respectively. 
  • A small number of large-dollar gifts fueled a disproportionate amount of collegiate fundraising. Those who gave more than $5,000 made up only 5.1% of donors, but their contributions amounted to 95% of the total dollars raised, the report found. Less than 1% of donations exceeded $25 million, but this group comprised 13.8% of overall funds given.

Dive Insight:

The 2022 fiscal year, which ended June 30, showed promising signs for fundraising across the higher education sector. Almost all types of higher education institutions saw an uptick in donations, with four-year colleges and research universities seeing the biggest increases of just over 12% each. 

Community colleges were an exception. Donations to two-year colleges declined by 15.4% in 2022. CASE noted that only about 11.2% of community colleges responded to this year’s survey, and nonrespondents tend to raise less than colleges that submit their donations data. Public master’s colleges also saw a slight decline in year-over-year fundraising of 1.8%.

CASE surveyed 826 colleges for its latest Voluntary Support of Education report. These institutions represent 24.7% of colleges nationwide but received $7 of every $10 donated this year.

Much like last year, many colleges are still benefiting from unprecedented donations from philanthropist and major Amazon shareholder MacKenzie Scott, the report said. She has donated at least $1.5 billion to roughly six dozen colleges in recent years, with a focus on historically Black institutions. 

Scott made a majority of her most notable higher education donations in 2020. But another round of contributions came in 2021. Despite being one-time gifts, they stabilized some colleges’ finances and allowed them to enhance their academic offerings, the report found.

There was a slight drop of gifts worth $100 million or larger in 2022. In total, CASE counted seven gifts of this size, down from nine the year prior. Only one came from an individual, while four were from foundations and two from donor-advised funds. 

Last year’s survey touted donor-advised funds — which allow people to donate assets and receive an immediate tax deduction while deciding later how the donation will be used — as an increasingly popular donation category. But they’re traditionally most popular when the economy is thriving. Although fiscal 2021 saw a stock market with record highs and only modest levels of inflation, that landscape changed dramatically in 2022.


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