Several colleges and universities report record fundraising in 2021-22

As colleges and universities close their financial books for fiscal year 2022, several institutions are reporting record fundraising totals. For these institutions — including public flagships, comprehensive universities, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and private colleges — the past 12 months have proven to be a banner year for philanthropy.

Here are some notable examples of record-breaking records, based on year-end reports from institutions or their affiliated foundations.

Public research universities

Penn State University raised over $437 million in 2021-22, its biggest fundraising year yet, successfully concluding its “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence” campaign, with a final total of 2,204,949,028 $ support.

The University of Oklahoma received $317 million in private donations and pledges in fiscal year 2022, breaking the previous record of $237 million that was set last year. Of the 80,377 donations received, 54 were donations of $1 million or more.

The University of Georgia broke all previous fundraising records, bringing in over $257.4 million in donations. This record amount came from 71,302 donors.

Clemson University raised a total of $210,598,898 in fiscal 2022, surpassing last year’s total of $202 million. Of the total, 22 donations of $1 million or more were received.

The University of South Florida set a new record with over $151 million in donations in fiscal year 2021-22, surpassing the old record set in 2015. USF’s $151.8 million in donations came from more than 34,000 donors, including more than 6 300 donors who made their first donations to the university.

University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio, reported $98.7 million in donations, the largest annual fundraiser in its history.

Florida Atlantic University raised $81.2 million in fiscal 2022 – the highest amount on record, breaking the previous record of $57 million from the previous year. As part of the record, FAU received the largest scholarship gift in its history – a $28 million estate pledge from John and Ann Wood to support scholarships for students enrolled at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.

The University of Memphis set an unprecedented donation record with $52.2 million in donations, including $29.1 million for academics, $23.1 million for athletics, and $18.2 million for endowments. The previous overall record was $44.1 million for fiscal 2019.

Other institutions reporting private donation records were Southern Illinois University and University of Southern Georgia.

Comprehensive universities

Among what are sometimes called comprehensive universities, which generally lack the fundraising capacity of their research university counterparts, several also had record years.

  • Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, received a record $24.1 million in donations in 2021-22, the largest one-year total in the university’s 114-year history. In contrast, just eight years earlier in fiscal 2014, YSU raised $6.1 million.
  • Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, grossed just over $32 million, beating its previous record (set in FY21) of nearly $7 million.
  • Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee had its highest fundraising year ever, with $27.6 million in donations and pledges from 2,367 donors.


Thanks in large part to an anonymous donation of $5.8 million, Fayetteville State University raised approximately $8 million for its all-time private donation record.

Florida A&M University The 2021-2022 fundraising topped 23.1 million, setting its new record.

Private colleges

  • Davidson College celebrated raising more than $114.9 million, far surpassing the second-highest total in fiscal 2019, when the college raised $106.6 million.
  • University of Wittenberg in Springfield, Ohio, raised $14.7 million in private donations in 2021-22, an amount he described as “the highest on record in recent history.”
  • Elmhurst University at Elmhurst. Illinois, received more than $10.1 million, the most it has ever raised in a year.
  • Quincy University raised $10.4 million, surpassing its previous all-time high of 21%.
  • Other private colleges with record private donations include Taylor University, the University of Dallas and Presbyterian College.

According to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), total giving to U.S. colleges and universities reached $52.9 billion in fiscal year 2021, up about 7% from the previous year. previous year, which recorded $49.5 billion in donations. This was seen as an encouraging figure in light of the economic turmoil associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

But fiscal 2022 saw a number of developments that have college fundraisers worried and continue to suggest future hurdles. Soaring inflation threatens the economy as worries about a possible recession grow. Markets have been hit hard over the past six months, with the Nasdaq falling 30%, the S&P 500 20% and the DJIA more than 15% over that period.

Add to these factors the global economic consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the fact that college fundraising administrators are struggling to hire and retain staff, and these record fundraising totals recently reported are a pleasant surprise.

It won’t be known for months whether the final FY2022 totals will match or improve on last year’s philanthropic support for higher education. For now, several economic storm clouds are still looming on the horizon, so record fundraising may become more difficult for institutions to pull off next year.

About Barbara Johnson

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