When students apply for financial aid, the final award is given by their college. Some of these funds are allocated by federal grant and loan programs for schools to give out, but universities must cover some things themselves. So, where do they get this extra money to hand out to students each year? Even still, what else do they use it for? There are a few things to talk about in this regard, so let's get to it.
For one thing, did you know that your college has a fundraising or gift giving office? Many schools do, and the duty of the personnel in those offices is to raise money for the school. Some ways they get funds include hosting events to raise money and also by contacting distingushed alumni, who will donate or "endow" the school with funds to be used in specific ways. Many endowments go into scholarship funds, often in the donor's name. Did you ever wonder why your school has a "So-and-So Scholarship Award" or a "This-Person's-Memorial Scholarship?" It's because these individuals were approached or gave freely to your school, either to be used right away or even donated by the alumni's estate. It's cool to know that previous grads care that much about you and your school, huh? If you receive one of these awards, be thankful to college fundraising and the sponsoring individual!
The gift office's job doesn't end with endowments, however. The mission of such offices is to raise the necessary funds to make your experience as great as it could possibly be at the university. Even when you are enrolled, these offices may contact you or your parents to inquire about small monetary donations you'd like to make. Sure, you're paying a nice bit of money to attend, but think beyond that: sometimes the school even needs help. The University of Pittsburgh, for instance, sends donation inquiries annually. This gives students and their families the ability to contribute any amount they want, large or small and actually specify what they'd like it to be used for (humanities division, classroom and academic building renovations, etc.). While student tuition plays a crucial role in the overall functioning of a college, extra funds collected allow for much-needed improvements on campus. Do the residence halls need some love? Donated funds can lend the capital to get this underway. Are there a great deal of classrooms that need to be updated with more current technology? These funds will allow that to happen.
The amount any school receives in college fundraising each year varies tremendously. This is pretty awesome though: Stanford University just reached the $1 Billion mark...for this school year alone! Ivy League schools raise a great deal of funds each year, likely for a few reasons: their alumni are among the most accomplished in the country and many Ivy League Schools do not allow federal loans to be used by students (so scholarships are beneficial to get ahold of). Still, those outside of the League do well, with public colleges raising up to $400,000+ dollars each per year (i.e. University of California branch campuses). Together, US schools raise $30 Billion dollars each year for students of just about every university.
What does all of this say to you? Well, one interpretation is that colleges want the best for their students to create the best and most affordable experience possible. It's wonderful to know that they care so very much. Want more info about college and financial aid? Contact Go Financial Aid anytime for in-depth solutions!