2004: Year in Review - Higher Education: Costs and Gifts Up, Foreign Enrollment Down

December 29, 2004

Although it was, as BusinessWeek called it, a year of "super-sized" gifts to American colleges and universities, the generally rosy picture for higher education was marred by a number of trends, including escalating fees and tuition costs, reductions in state government support for higher education, and declining foreign enrollment at many of America's top research universities.

The year opened with positive news for colleges and universities, as the National Association of College and University Business Officers reported that the typical university endowment generated a 2.9 percent return in 2003, a modest improvement over the previous two years. "The good news is, we've turned the corner," said David Lyons, a senior fellow at the association. "But?state budgets are in terrible condition?[which] at [public schools], at least?is definitely going to put pressure on tuition?."

Lyons prediction was borne out when the College Board, in its annual Trends in College Pricing, reported that increases in college costs in 2004 were smaller than increases recorded in 2003 but were still high by historical standards. Moreover, for the second year in a row, loans to students outpaced direct financial aid, becoming the fastest-growing component of the financial aid equation. At the same time, a study issued by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA found that 40 percent of the freshmen at the forty-two most selective state universities came from families making more than $100,000 a year, up from 32 percent in 1999.

The growing importance of higher education for America and Americans ? and real concerns about whether the average American family will be able to afford a college education for their kids should current trends continue ? prompted an outpouring of large individual gifts and bequests to colleges and universities in 2004. Schools receiving unusually large gifts included Brown University ($100 million), the University of Michigan ($100 million), the University of Miami ($100 million), Rollins College ($93.3 million), Duke University ($72 million), Tulane University ($60 million), Thunderbird-the Garvin School of International Management ($60 million), Carnegie Mellon ($55 million), Baruch College ($54 million), Tufts University ($50 million), Middlebury College ($50 million), the University of South Carolina ($45 million), Stanford University ($43.5 million), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ($40 million), the University of Dubuque ($32 million), UCLA ($25 million), Colgate University ($25 million), the University of Denver ($20 million), Chapman University ($20 million), and Williams College ($15.7 million).

And then there was the late Genesio Morlacci, a retired local businessman from Great Falls, Montana, who died in October at the age of 102 and left $2.3 million to the University of Great Falls, where he worked in his later years as a part-time janitor. "He had only a third-grade education," said Bill Foy, a friend, "but he knew his numbers."

Related news:
Returns for University Endowments Up Modestly in 2003 (1/22/04)

Lilly Endowment Announces $100 Million Indiana Higher Education Initiative (2/26/04)

Health Plan Conversion Yields $600 Million for Two Wisconsin Medical Schools (3/31/04)

ExxonMobil and Its Employees Give $22.5 Million to Higher Education (4/19/04)

Economic Diversity at Top Colleges Threatened as Percentage of Wealthy Students Increases (4/23/04)

Yale Receives $110 Million With Help From Alumni Investment Pool (6/03/04)

College Savings Plans Affect Tax and Financial-Aid Positions, Study Shows (9/04/04)

Investments Boost Harvard Endowment to $22.6 Billion (9/17/04)

College Board Reports Increases in College Tuition and Financial Aid (10/21/04)

Foreign Enrollment Drops at American Universities, Studies Show (11/11/04)

Lilly Endowment Awards Final $42 Million in Indiana Higher Education Initiative (11/24/04)

Moore Foundation Gives $5.6 Million to Increase Minority Enrollment in Graduate Science Programs (12/01/04)

Major Donors, Universities Clash on Intent (12/02/04)

$30 Million Endowment at Harvard to Use Venture Capital Approach (12/07/04)

Individual gifts

Duke University Receives $72 Million Gift (1/12/04)

San Diego Businessman Gives $30 Million to Name UCSD School of Management (1/26/04)

Colgate University Receives $35 Million From Two Alumni (2/20/04)

Chapman University Receives $20 Million for Film School (2/23/04)

Qualcomm Co-Founder, Wife Give $52 Million to USC Engineering School (3/02/04)

Thunderbird Management School Receives $60 Million Gift (3/10/04)

Carnegie Mellon Business School Receives $55 Million Gift (3/23/04)

University of Texas Receives $25 Million for Stem Cell Research (4/02/04)

Oklahoma Christian University Receives $33 Million Gift (4/06/04)

Rollins College Receives $93.3 Million From Alumnus (4/16/04)

University of South Carolina Business School Gets $45 Million Gift (4/27/04)

Middlebury College Announces $60 Million in Anonymous Gifts (5/10/04)

Harvard Receives $10 Million to Lure Professionals to Public Service (5/03/04)

University of Dubuque Receives $32 Million for Ethics Program (5/12/04)

Marquette University Receives $18 Million for Research (5/14/04)

University of Wisconsin-Madison Receives $31 Million (5/21/04)

Dartmouth Receives $51 Million in Gifts (5/25/04)

Columbia University Receives $15 Million to Address Development and Environment (6/03/04)

Williams College Receives $15.75 Million (6/11/04)

Brown University Receives $20 Million (6/17/04)

Yahoo! Chairman and Wife Donate $25 Million to UCLA (6/21/04)

Tulane Receives $60 Million From Two Dot-Com Pioneers (7/30/04)

Franklin & Marshall Receives $22.5 Million for Life Sciences Building (8/19/04)

Berkshire Hathaway Executive and Wife Give $43.5 Million to Stanford (8/30/04)

University of Michigan and Tufts Announce Largest Gifts Ever (9/10/04)

Rensselaer Trustee Gives Institute $40 Million (9/14/04)

Brown University Receives $100 Million for Undergraduate Scholarships (9/16/04)

University of Denver Receives $20 Million for Law School (9/23/04)

Baylor College of Medicine Receives $35 Million (9/24/04)

University of Virginia Receives $22 Million for Education School (9/27/04)

Baruch College Receives $54 Million From Alumni (9/30/04)

Harvard Business School Receives $25 Million From Alumnus (10/26/04)

Local Entrepreneur Gives University of Miami School of Business $10 Million (10/28/04)

Temple University Business School Receives $15 Million for New Building (10/29/04)

Venture Capitalist Gives $22 Million to USC Engineering School (11/12/04)

Johnny Carson Gives $5.3 Million to Alma Mater (11/14/04)

Former Janitor Leaves University $2.3 Million (11/20/04)

University of Michigan Receives $44 Million for Diabetes Research (11/23/04)

Wellesley Receives $8 Million to Create Junior Faculty Posts (11/27/04)

Game Show Host Creates Law School Endowments to Further Animal Rights (11/30/04)

University of Washington Business School Receives $10 Million (12/03/04)

University of Miami Medical School Receives $100 Million (12/08/04)

University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School Receives $10 Million (12/11/04)

Belmont University Receives $11 Million for Health Sciences Complex (12/21/04)

Log in| Register

Printer-friendly version
E-mail to a friend

2004 Year in Review| Nonprofit Economy Rebounds| Debate Over Accountability Continues| 527 Organizations and the 2004 Election| Impact of 9/11 Continues to Be Felt| International Philanthropy| Private Support Fuels Education Reform| Higher Education: Costs and Gifts Up, Foreign Enrollments Down| Noteworthy Philanthropic Gifts