CSU breaks fundraising record, hopes to double it by 2020 to mitigate tuition

Colorado State University recently announced that it set a new fundraising record by bringing in $112.5 million in private funding from donors to support the university, surpassing last year’s record of $111.6 million.

“I think we’ve just got some great momentum going on right now,” said Brett Anderson, vice president for university advancement. “The overall university is doing incredibly well; we have tremendous programs, great students, the research we’ve got going on is solving some of the key challenges in the world. I think we’ve just got a lot of great areas people want to support.”

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This year 33,614 donors gave to the university, compared to 31,690 donors last year, according to a news release from the university. Alumni Association membership also increased by 15 percent. Alumni participation, which represents the percentage of CSU undergraduate alumni who financially support the university, grew by nearly 15 percent and is up 30 percent over the past two years.

Anderson said “alumni participation” is a term formally defined by the U.S. News and World Report.

“We do find it very meaningful to those (alumni) that attend events and volunteer, but the official definition doesn’t count that (as alumni participation),” Anderson said.

Within the group of CSU’s 15 peer institutions, such as Washington State University, Oregon State University, Texas A&M and more, CSU was ranked sixth in fundraising last year, according to Anderson.

“A lot of fundraising is based on size and alumni — on the size of our alumni group on our peer groups, we’re ranked thirteenth. So we have a smaller alumni group, but we are doing very well,” Anderson said.

Colorado State University veterinary students Adam Nylund and Stacey Rael and Ophthalmologist Dr. Cynthia Powell examine Sunggles, a miniature horse, during a checkup on Friday at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Collegian File Photo.
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital is one area donated to by alumni in this year’s record-breaking fundraising. Collegian File Photo.

Donations were given to a wide range of areas across the university, including the Department of Occupational Therapy’s New Start program, designed to give student-veterans the opportunity to succeed in college and in life after serving the country. Other projects supported in part by fundraising include the Suzanne and Walter Scott Jr. Bioengineering Building, the Flint Animal Cancer Center, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the Avenir Museum at the University Center for the Arts.

Private scholarship funding for students also rose last year, with at least 100 scholarships added, according to Anderson.

So, with record-setting fundraising, why is tuition still being raised 9 percent for CSU students next year?

“The biggest thing is the overall state support decline,” Anderson said.. “What we’re trying to do is mitigate that. What you would likely see is that if we wouldn’t have great results in fundraising, tuition would go up more.”

Anderson said university fundraising is not quite at the point of lowering tuition costs yet.

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“We need to even do more to keep tuition costs as low as possible,” Anderson said. “Some of the donations we can’t use as much to offset tuition because they donate to specific professors’ research.”

Anderson said after talking to CSU President Tony Frank, the university’s goal is by 2020 to more than double CSU’s fundraising again, and if so, they think that will have a significant impact on mitigating tuition.

“It is extremely gratifying to see our alumni and friends step up in such a significant way and support the university so generously and to know that this critical private support will help us continue to provide a top-quality education at one of our nation’s very best public research universities,” Frank said in a news release from the University.

According to Anderson, almost every donation is given to a specific program, scholarship or cause by the donor. Of last year’s $113 million, Anderson said probably less than $3 million was given to the overall university fund.

“I’d like to just thank our students,” Anderson said. “A lot of the reason we’re able to raise this money and do a better job is because of our students. The biggest thing donors want to see is our campus and students. When they get to see our students, they are amazed. Our students do a lot to help raise that money.”

Editor in Chief Emily Smith can be reached at news@collegian.com.