You did it! It took four long years of studying, cramming and the occasional all-nighter, but you have finally earned your college degree. Graduates leave their schools filled with feelings of accomplishment. Some students will even plan on making charitable donations to the educational institution that has bestowed them the knowledge that will lead success. One day far in the future, right?
Six months since my own 2008 college graduation, I started receiving letters from my alma mater requesting a charitable donation. Since I am still paying off my student loans, and will be for the next fifteen years, the subject of making a charitable donation to any type of institution was mute in my book. However, the question of why colleges and universities so frequently ask for donations has crossed my mind. Is it simply just another way to bring in extra cash flow? Or are these places of higher education hurting financially?
The truth is some colleges heavily rely on alumni donations. From programs to new equipment, the money colleges receive from donors could help improve the current student bodies' education. Letters are sent as early as the day students graduate, because only an average of 7% of alumni donates to their alma maters. After receiving tuition payments and then the cost of running a campus for one college year, some intuitions break even while others go more in-debt.
Colleges and Universities that receive the most from charitable donations are the ones who have something to offer their alumni. Some schools will honor those who make sizable donations by naming a building or marker after the donor. Other schools receive donations simply because of their recognizable name or sports team.
Donations don't have to exceed a certain amount. Every little bit helps, and for smaller, lesser known intuitions one donation could make the difference when it comes to that new science lab or obtaining new gym equipment. Even if the feel of that diploma is still in your hand, do not brush off making a charitable donation to your school just yet. Even I have made my yearly $50 contribution. It won't build a science lab, but it is appreciated.