Stanford University has set a new record for college fund-raising, becoming the first school to collect more than $ 1 billion in a single year, according to a report released today.

For the eighth straight year, Stanford ranked first in the Council for Aid to Education’s annual college fund-raising survey, which shows that elite institutions continue to grab a disproportionate share of donor dollars.

In the 2012 fiscal year, roughly 3,500 US colleges and universities raised $ 31 billion, 2.3 per cent more than the previous year. The record was set in 2008 when schools took in $ 31.6 billion before fund-raising dropped during the height of the financial crisis.

“We’re climbing out of the doldrums,” said survey director Ann Kaplan. “We haven’t returned to the high point of 2008, but we’re approaching it. I think you can say that about a lot of industries.”

Topping the list was Stanford at $ 1.035 billion, 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.

The top 10 fundraising colleges collected $ 5.3 billion, or 17 percent, of the $ 31 billion, even though they represent only 0.3 per cent of the 3,500 accredited, non-profit schools included in the survey.

Stanford benefited from a surge in donations at the end of its multi-year Stanford Challenge fund-raising campaign, which netted $ 6.2 billion.

The 10-campus University of California system raised $ 1.56 billion, which doesn’t include money collected by its individual campuses. UC Berkeley was the leading fundraiser among all public universities, taking in $ 405 million.

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford’s alumni list includes the founders of major tech companies like Yahoo Inc. who have given to the school in recent years.

Stanford raised 46 per cent more in its 2012 fiscal year than the $ 709 million it collected in 2011 and surpassed its previous record of USD 911 million set in 2006.

Stanford received donations from nearly 79,000 donors, including $ 100 million of a $ 150 million gift from Silicon Valley investor Robert King and his wife Dorothy to establish the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies.

“We are in awe and remain humbled by this kind of response. It was a remarkable showing of generosity,” said Martin Shell, Stanford’s Vice-President for development.

(This article was published on February 20, 2013)
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