Stanford rakes in record-setting dollars

In a state where public colleges and universities are struggling to make ends meet, Stanford’s most recent achievement seems almost laughable. The university hit a record high of fundraising dollars, raking in a cool $1.035 billion in a single year.

The data came from the Council for Aid to Education’s annual college fundraising survey, which ranks Stanford at the number one fundraising spot for the eighth year in a row. And in the past 30 years, Stanford was the top fundraising institution a grand total of 14 times.

Stanford’s fundraising efforts were not-so-closely followed by Harvard University at $650 million, Yale University at $544 million, the University of Southern California at $492 million and Columbia University at $490 million.

On the surface, the survey results sound encouraging. In the 2012 fiscal year, 3,500 U.S. colleges and universities raised $31 billion, 2.3 percent more than in 2011. But if you take inflation into account, this increase becomes almost insignificant, at 0.2 percent.

And the nation’s colleges and universities have not yet reached their all time high, set at $31.6 billion just before the financial crisis in 2008.

But Stanford broke its own record high of $911 million, set in 2006.

KTVU reports the university has been extra successful  in part due to its five-year Stanford Challenge fundraising campaign (which brought in $6.2 billion), a $1 billion campaign for its medical schools and hospitals, big time Silicon Valley entrepreneur alumni and other generous donors.

The money will be used for construction and research, including 38 new or renovated campus buildings, $250-million in need-based scholarships for undergraduate students, 130 new endowed faculty appointments, and 360 new fellowships for graduate students, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Martin Shell, Stanford’s vice-president for development, said in the report:

“Higher education for most people represents hope for a better future, and donors want to invest in that.”

However, donors aren’t investing equally. This year, the top 10 fundraising colleges raised 17 percent of the $31 billion total, despite the fact they represent only 0.3 percent of the 3,500 schools that participated in the survey.

If Stanford’s money was doled out to its 18,500 undergraduate and graduate students, each would end up with roughly $56,000. At San Jose State University, where a mere $14 million was collected this year, each of the school’s 31,000 students would receive about $450.