Why should I donate to my alma mater?

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knightrider
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Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by knightrider » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm

I graduated 20+ years ago and every year give a token $50-100. I do it mainly to add to their "participation numbers". I have no dreams/plans for my children to attend this school. I also do not keep in touch with any of my classmates, apart from a once every few years meetup...

I was on a huge aid package when I attended. So I sort of feel obligated to donate something... But the whole thing rubs me in a weird way. Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?

MoonOrb
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by MoonOrb » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:09 pm

If you feel you get better bang for your buck out of making charitable donations to other causes, you should do that instead. There's no rule that says you must give to your alma mater. This is true even if you attended on scholarship. My personal opinion is that the way you repay a scholarship is by going out there in the world and adding value and contributing, not by literally sending checks back to the school.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by MotoTrojan » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:11 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
I graduated 20+ years ago and every year give a token $50-100. I do it mainly to add to their "participation numbers". I have no dreams/plans for my children to attend this school. I also do not keep in touch with any of my classmates, apart from a once every few years meetup...

I was on a huge aid package when I attended. So I sort of feel obligated to donate something... But the whole thing rubs me in a weird way. Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?
May be worth reaching out to your earlier grade-schools. $100/yr would be a much larger portion of their annual donations than a large university.

mhalley
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by mhalley » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:12 pm

High schools and kindergartens are paid for by your tax dollars, so you are donating to them. You should not feel an obligation to donate if you don’t want to. By its nature, charity should be done from the heart for something you believe strongly about. Whether it is save the whales, or nuke the whales, give to a cause you believe in, not out of some sense of obligation.

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flamesabers
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by flamesabers » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:12 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
I graduated 20+ years ago and every year give a token $50-100. I do it mainly to add to their "participation numbers". I have no dreams/plans for my children to attend this school. I also do not keep in touch with any of my classmates, apart from a once every few years meetup...

I was on a huge aid package when I attended. So I sort of feel obligated to donate something... But the whole thing rubs me in a weird way.
If you don't want to donate then don't. I haven't donated anything to my alma mater because I think I gave them plenty of money whilst I was a student.
knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?
High schools and the like get their funding via property taxes. :wink:

flyingaway
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by flyingaway » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:13 pm

When a nonprofit university president makes two or three times as much as the U.S. president does, I just don't see why anyone should denote to a university?

cutterinnj
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by cutterinnj » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:14 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
I graduated 20+ years ago and every year give a token $50-100. I do it mainly to add to their "participation numbers". I have no dreams/plans for my children to attend this school. I also do not keep in touch with any of my classmates, apart from a once every few years meetup...

I was on a huge aid package when I attended. So I sort of feel obligated to donate something... But the whole thing rubs me in a weird way. Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?
I get regular solicitations from both my undergraduate and medical institutions begging for donations.
I find them laughable; the cost was exorbitant and continues to rise.
Why would I donate money so that they can have a nicer rock climbing wall?

Education is a bubble. I'm not going to contribute further to its inflation beyond adding to my kids' 529's here and there.

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bottlecap
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by bottlecap » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:20 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
I graduated 20+ years ago and every year give a token $50-100. I do it mainly to add to their "participation numbers". I have no dreams/plans for my children to attend this school. I also do not keep in touch with any of my classmates, apart from a once every few years meetup...

I was on a huge aid package when I attended. So I sort of feel obligated to donate something... But the whole thing rubs me in a weird way. Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?
My High School does. But it is private and relies heavily on donations to keep it "affordable" and offer scholarships.

Why should you? If you don't feel the obligation, you shouldn't. Educational institutions sure don't need your money, although they think they do.

As someone who (and whose family) paid full fare, I feel absolutely no obligation. If you do, donate. If you don't, don't. Over $50-$100 per year, you are wasting your time worrying about it.

JT

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dodecahedron
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by dodecahedron » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:30 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
I graduated 20+ years ago and every year give a token $50-100. I do it mainly to add to their "participation numbers". I have no dreams/plans for my children to attend this school. I also do not keep in touch with any of my classmates, apart from a once every few years meetup...

I was on a huge aid package when I attended. So I sort of feel obligated to donate something... But the whole thing rubs me in a weird way. Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?
Colleges live and die by their US News & WR rankings these days. The percentage of alumni who donate is a key factor in those ratings. Also, the aid package you received was made possible by donations of those who attended before you, so there is something to be said for "paying it forward."

My high school is defunct (went out of business shortly after my class graduated). It did not offer "aid packages" or scholarships at the time, but tuition for everyone was heavily discounted because (1) many teachers were nuns who had taken vows of poverty and (2) lay teachers were willing to teach for very little (especially young men wanting to qualify for the draft deferment and women who had few other options for careers at the time). The combination of nuns leaving the convent, the draft ending, and doors to women in other careers opening up in the mid 70s, combined with the energy crisis/inflation made the school financially unsustainable.

The same thing happened to the college my mother attended. It went out of business around the same time for similar reasons.

Colleges today face different economic pressures than my mother's college or my high school, but they do continue to be at risk for going out of business. When a college goes out of business (or simply declines in prestige due to a fall in ratings), the value of the credential and the size of the future alumni network diminishes.

MathWizard
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by MathWizard » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:31 pm

My reasons:

I direct my gift to the departments which I was in which were underfunded,
I leave it to their discretion how to spend that money.

I also direct funds to a scholarship fund for students. I would not have been able to attend
without the scholarship I had, and I want to extend that generosity to some other student.

Granted that money is fungible, and the University could just give less to a department and
us that money, it could not use the money for scholarships in that way without completely ruining
their fund-raising foundation.


A second reason which is less altruistic is that by maintaining quality at the institution from which
you graduated, you keep the value of your degree brand high.

Imagine that you have a degree from a private college that went bankrupt. (I know 4 people for
which that is true.) Now it probably does not matter, as they are late in their careers, but it
seems strange to list a now non-existent school as your alma mater.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by dodecahedron » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:36 pm

By the way, college admissions officers pay big fees to consultants who use econometric methods to predict which applicants will be most likely to donate generously after college graduation.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by daveydoo » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:43 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:13 pm
When a nonprofit university president makes two or three times as much as the U.S. president does, I just don't see why anyone should denote to a university?
Does anyone really think that the (US) President's salary is any more than just a token? It takes billions in fund-raising to even be a contender in that election -- I don't think the salary is a factor. Is there a comparable private-sector job that pays $400K annually? Is there even a comparable private-sector job? :D
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by miamivice » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:45 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
I graduated 20+ years ago and every year give a token $50-100. I do it mainly to add to their "participation numbers". I have no dreams/plans for my children to attend this school. I also do not keep in touch with any of my classmates, apart from a once every few years meetup...

I was on a huge aid package when I attended. So I sort of feel obligated to donate something... But the whole thing rubs me in a weird way. Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?
I don't think anybody here can suggest what you should do with your money. That's ultimately your choice.

There is no reason to give to universities other than a personal belief that is the right thing to do.

You should not feel obligated to give to them because you received an aid package. The portion of the aid package that was scholarships or grants was a gift to you - no strings attached - and does not need to be repaid back. Any part of the aid package that was loans did need to be paid back, and I'm sure you did.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by flamesabers » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:47 pm

cutterinnj wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:14 pm
I get regular solicitations from both my undergraduate and medical institutions begging for donations. I find them laughable; the cost was exorbitant and continues to rise. Why would I donate money so that they can have a nicer rock climbing wall?
+1.

Fortunately I don't get frequent solicitations but I do understand the sentiment.

If my alma mater was struggling to stay financially solvent, I wouldn't mind donating a few ideas on how to balance their budget. :twisted:
MathWizard wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:31 pm
Imagine that you have a degree from a private college that went bankrupt. (I know 4 people for which that is true.) Now it probably does not matter, as they are late in their careers, but it seems strange to list a now non-existent school as your alma mater.
Do you feel the same way about listing a prior employer that went bankrupt?

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by knightrider » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:51 pm

dodecahedron wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:36 pm
By the way, college admissions officers pay big fees to consultants who use econometric methods to predict which applicants will be most likely to donate generously after college graduation.
Are you sure about this ? A significant percentage of students at top schools are south asian and asians. These types generally come from very frugally minded households and don't donate much. When I look at the list of donors , I rarely see an asian sounding name..

bob60014
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by bob60014 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:58 pm

The money ESPN, CBS, NBC, ABC, TBS etc give to my schools coffers to broadcast events, makes any donation I may give seem frivolous.

PVW
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by PVW » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:00 pm

Know where your money is going and what it is used for. Don't donate for some vague sense of gratitude.

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bottlecap
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by bottlecap » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:03 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:43 pm
flyingaway wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:13 pm
When a nonprofit university president makes two or three times as much as the U.S. president does, I just don't see why anyone should denote to a university?
Does anyone really think that the (US) President's salary is any more than just a token? It takes billions in fund-raising to even be a contender in that election -- I don't think the salary is a factor. Is there a comparable private-sector job that pays $400K annually? Is there even a comparable private-sector job? :D
No, no one really thinks that it is anything but token. Become president for the post-presidency speaking fees, not the pittance salary.

JT

Afty
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by Afty » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:04 pm

I refuse to donate to my undergraduate alma mater. They have have enough money in their endowment without my measly hundred bucks. Plus the way they solicit alumni for money feels very calculated and artificial.

My private high school does solicit me for money, and I am happy to donate to them. I had a great experience there and to this day they treat me like an individual and not just a walking checkbook.

MathWizard
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by MathWizard » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:04 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:47 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:31 pm
Imagine that you have a degree from a private college that went bankrupt. (I know 4 people for which that is true.) Now it probably does not matter, as they are late in their careers, but it seems strange to list a now non-existent school as your alma mater.
Do you feel the same way about listing a prior employer that went bankrupt?
Wow, that would seem to be worse.
I hope that did not happen to you.

On the other hand, most people will work for several different companies, but typically only have
one or two Colleges/Universities to list.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by dodecahedron » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:09 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:51 pm
dodecahedron wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:36 pm
By the way, college admissions officers pay big fees to consultants who use econometric methods to predict which applicants will be most likely to donate generously after college graduation.
Are you sure about this ? A significant percentage of students at top schools are south asian and asians. These types generally come from very frugally minded households and don't donate much. When I look at the list of donors , I rarely see an asian sounding name..
I am quite sure about the fact that some colleges pay big fees to such consultants. (I am an economist myself and personally know some of these economic consultants. There have also been articles in places like the Chronicle of Higher Education discussing the use of such models.) The models are not the only factor used in admissions--but especially for borderline students who will need substantial scholarship aid, they do get used. Most private colleges are not in a position to be too choosy about full-pay students, but have very limited financial aid funds, are in generally precarious shape, and would like to get as much "bang for the buck" for their scarce financial aid dollars.

Theseus
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by Theseus » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:13 pm

I never donate to my alma matter.

My main reason (without knowing any facts), some of these colleges (and mine included) have so much endowment money that I can't fathom as to why they need any more money.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by jebmke » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:16 pm

I used to donate to my undergraduate school; then they announced that they were building a lavish alumni center on campus. So I cut them off. Then I started donating to my graduate school. They renamed the school after a hedge fund manager who donated a lot of money so I cut them off.
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by flyingaway » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:25 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:43 pm
flyingaway wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:13 pm
When a nonprofit university president makes two or three times as much as the U.S. president does, I just don't see why anyone should denote to a university?
Does anyone really think that the (US) President's salary is any more than just a token? It takes billions in fund-raising to even be a contender in that election -- I don't think the salary is a factor. Is there a comparable private-sector job that pays $400K annually? Is there even a comparable private-sector job? :D
I am comparing it with the salary of a nonprofit state university. I think it makes sense.

remomnyc
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by remomnyc » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:31 pm

I donate to my undergrad because they made it possible for me to graduate with only $10k of debt even though my parents contributed nothing. I give a token amount my grad school to help their participation numbers but no more because they did not help me out and I already paid them plenty. Do what you want to do for whatever reason you want to do it.

knightrider
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by knightrider » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:31 pm

dodecahedron wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:36 pm
Most private colleges are not in a position to be too choosy about full-pay students, but have very limited financial aid funds, are in generally precarious shape, and would like to get as much "bang for the buck" for their scarce financial aid dollars.
I thought all financial-aid is need-blind. Admission comes first and ability to pay is secondary. So once admitted they will offer the best financial aid package they can.

I understand for international students that is not the case. Ability to pay is a factor in admissions since funds are very limited.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by whodidntante » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:36 pm

mhalley wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:12 pm
High schools and kindergartens are paid for by your tax dollars, so you are donating to them. You should not feel an obligation to donate if you don’t want to. By its nature, charity should be done from the heart for something you believe strongly about. Whether it is save the whales, or nuke the whales, give to a cause you believe in, not out of some sense of obligation.
Taxes are a compulsory payment and enforcement is backed by the enormous resources of the state. Not exactly a donation.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by Da5id » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:37 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
I graduated 20+ years ago and every year give a token $50-100. I do it mainly to add to their "participation numbers". I have no dreams/plans for my children to attend this school. I also do not keep in touch with any of my classmates, apart from a once every few years meetup...

I was on a huge aid package when I attended. So I sort of feel obligated to donate something... But the whole thing rubs me in a weird way. Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?
I don't donate to my undergrad school, I do donate to my grad school (targeted to my department) a modest amount like yours above. I do it more because I had a great experience there and want to stay connected, and in fact still participate in some school activities 20 years later. Mind you, as the schools endowment is ~15 billion there are probably better uses for my charity budget, but still feels like a good thing to do to me.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by PVW » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:43 pm

Theseus wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:13 pm
My main reason (without knowing any facts), some of these colleges (and mine included) have so much endowment money that I can't fathom as to why they need any more money.
I have similar feelings, but at least (most?) universities are upfront about their endowments. Some public universities have squirreled away public funding into slush funds while continuing to increase tuition.

http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/u ... 94938.html
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/ ... 63d28.html
http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/04/25/c ... den-funds/

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dodecahedron
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by dodecahedron » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:45 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:31 pm
dodecahedron wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:36 pm
Most private colleges are not in a position to be too choosy about full-pay students, but have very limited financial aid funds, are in generally precarious shape, and would like to get as much "bang for the buck" for their scarce financial aid dollars.
I thought all financial-aid is need-blind. Admission comes first and ability to pay is secondary. So once admitted they will offer the best financial aid package they can.
Very few colleges can afford to be totally need blind. Some colleges do admit students with need they can't fully fund, but there are limits to how far they can go with that. If the aid award is grossly insufficient and the student's family decides to try anyway, the odds that the student can complete all four years of college are low (which will--again--hurt those all important US News &WR rankings.)

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by flamesabers » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:15 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:04 pm
flamesabers wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:47 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:31 pm
Imagine that you have a degree from a private college that went bankrupt. (I know 4 people for which that is true.) Now it probably does not matter, as they are late in their careers, but it seems strange to list a now non-existent school as your alma mater.
Do you feel the same way about listing a prior employer that went bankrupt?
Wow, that would seem to be worse.
I hope that did not happen to you.

On the other hand, most people will work for several different companies, but typically only have
one or two Colleges/Universities to list.
That hasn't happened to me. I asked because I think what you said below also can be applied for a past employer.
MathWizard wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:31 pm
A second reason which is less altruistic is that by maintaining quality at the institution from which you graduated, you keep the value of your degree brand high.
Past employers don't normally call you up and ask for a donation even though your employment history is on the same resume as your education credentials.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:19 pm

As far as I'm concerned colleges were complicit in student loan problems. They raised tuition on the backs of students who had no hope of getting a good paying degree in their field just because they could. I got a great education at my college but won't be giving them a dime. Any money I give will go directly to the extra curricular organizations I was involved with.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by SGM » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:21 pm

My lead professor gave me some of the grant money he received from the applied research I was working on so that I could afford to do more research and not work in the summer. My graduate teaching assistantship only covered fall and spring semesters. I paid that back to the department the first year I was working. The corporations I worked for at that time matched my donations. So that was another incentive to give. Now all the professors I had are retired. The university grew exponentially and is among the largest in the country now. I don't think they need the money. In an alumni magazine they stated that over a few years they received $9 billion in research grants.

I have given smaller amounts to my undergraduate and professional school.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:23 pm

I graduated from 3 colleges. One is state funded, one is private and my son currently attends and one is an out of state, state college where my employer paid full boat, out of state grad tuition for me to go. Only the one my son attends asks me for money. When they call, I'll point out that they give no aid to transfer students. I was a transfer and my son is a transfer. They can collect their money from the rest of the students who were part of the "well, nobody pays the full price" crowd.
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fourwheelcycle
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by fourwheelcycle » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:24 pm

I have always given just a few hundred dollars each year to my college and I thought I would never give more.

However, I have always told my wife, and anyone else if the topic comes up, that I got a great education at my college and my college experience contributed more to my personal development than any other phase of my education, including grad school. Now that I am retired I continue to appreciate the important role of my college education and experiences. Fortunately, I can afford to give more to my college now and I am inclined to do so.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by Yooper16 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:26 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:13 pm
When a nonprofit university president makes two or three times as much as the U.S. president does, I just don't see why anyone should denote to a university?

How about when the football coach makes 6 million a year? I have had people tell me that they are fine with that.

We have established 2 scholarships at our former alma mater-- not much but 2k a year of each. The first has a geographical requirement as trying to bring SE Michigan suburbanites to the glorious UP. The 2nd, is for sophomore and up studying in the environmental and natural sciences. We are contemplating an additional environmental scholarship--- recent events seem to suggest the need is going to be there.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by Isabelle77 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:14 pm

My husband and I graduated from a highly rated liberal arts college, my husband was the fourth generation of his family to attend the school. This year we didn't write our annual check. Our beautiful college that we loved now costs almost 70K a year to attend and we wouldn't qualify for any financial aid. Could we scrape together the 280K (or whatever it will be in 6yrs) to send ONE of our two children there? Yes, probably, but as the school continues to build monuments to itself (that new climbing wall is awesome!) and offer free tuition to anyone that makes under 6 figures, we're opting out.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by statman » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:06 pm

Lots of factors here. I give nothing to Princeton (my alma mater) because they are rich. But we do give to SUNY New Paltz, where my wife (from a very poor family) got an excellent education for very little money. And New Paltz doesn't get the alum donations that Princeton does -- our $150,000 put us in the major donor category.

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StevieG72
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by StevieG72 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:28 pm

It's ok to stop donating if you no longer get warm and fuzzy feelings from doing so.

Once you donate once to any charity they will hit you up every year for eternity.
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by downshiftme » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:29 pm

As someone who (and whose family) paid full fare, I feel absolutely no obligation. If you do, donate. If you don't, don't.
I have occasionally donated, but only in token amounts. My alma mater has billions, and my donations do little to change that. My personal experience on campus was not as good as it should have been and the school did a poor job with some terrible teachers and lack of guidance regarding programs and degrees. The potential was great. The other students were great. The final result was disappointing and in retrospect the school's priorities were not about education, but about preserving and promoting the overall institution. They are very very good at that.

Having paid full tuition for my own education (thanks family) and paid full tuition for my own children's education, I am a strong believer in education in general. I am generally unimpressed by the goal of surpassing previous fund raising goals or competing with other classes on total dollars raised or percent participation.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by Bfwolf » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:56 pm

MoonOrb wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:09 pm
If you feel you get better bang for your buck out of making charitable donations to other causes, you should do that instead. There's no rule that says you must give to your alma mater. This is true even if you attended on scholarship. My personal opinion is that the way you repay a scholarship is by going out there in the world and adding value and contributing, not by literally sending checks back to the school.
+1

I can think of few organizations that are LESS worthy of charitable donations than universities. The price gouging has gotten ridiculous, and many of them have huge endowments already.

For a few hundred dollars, you can probably save somebody's life in Africa. Or you can provide <1% of what it cost to build that rock climbing wall at your alma mater.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:59 pm

cutterinnj wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:14 pm
knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
I graduated 20+ years ago and every year give a token $50-100. I do it mainly to add to their "participation numbers". I have no dreams/plans for my children to attend this school. I also do not keep in touch with any of my classmates, apart from a once every few years meetup...

I was on a huge aid package when I attended. So I sort of feel obligated to donate something... But the whole thing rubs me in a weird way. Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?
I get regular solicitations from both my undergraduate and medical institutions begging for donations.
I find them laughable; the cost was exorbitant and continues to rise.
Why would I donate money so that they can have a nicer rock climbing wall?
+1. I delete the email donation requests before even opening them. I feel zero guilt about not contributing to more administrative bloat, bigger marquees, fancier dorms, and amazing recreational facilities . I was too busy working several jobs and studying to get through school debt-free to enjoy these things, why should I feel obligated to fund them for others (who will pay increasingly insane costs)?

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Artsdoctor » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:09 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
I graduated 20+ years ago and every year give a token $50-100. I do it mainly to add to their "participation numbers". I have no dreams/plans for my children to attend this school. I also do not keep in touch with any of my classmates, apart from a once every few years meetup...

I was on a huge aid package when I attended. So I sort of feel obligated to donate something... But the whole thing rubs me in a weird way. Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?
Whether to give, to whom to give, and how much to give is very personal. You're certainly not obligated to give to your alma mater and if you're ambivalent, don't force yourself. If you are in a position to give considerably, you may be in a position to have more control over how your money is used (for example, you may be able to provide a scholarship fund).

If the university doesn't work out, consider giving to another cause, possibly related to education.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:12 pm

FYI - I fixed the spelling the thread title. "matter" to "mater".

A former colleague gave me some good advice about college donations:

It's a business decision. You pay them $$$ and get a college degree in return. Now, they are asking for more $$$. What do you get in return? Exactly. That's why I don't donate.
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by flamesabers » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:13 pm

StevieG72 wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:28 pm
Once you donate once to any charity they will hit you up every year for eternity.
Your alma mater may still solicit you for donations even if you've never made a donation. :annoyed
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:59 pm
I feel zero guilt about not contributing to more administrative bloat, bigger marquees, fancier dorms, and amazing recreational facilities.
+1.

Whenever I receive a solicitation from my alma mater, the first thing that comes to my mind is how much money I spent on tuition fees and textbooks. I might mention this the next time I get a call from my alma mater. :P

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by ncbill » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:22 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:13 pm
StevieG72 wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:28 pm
Once you donate once to any charity they will hit you up every year for eternity.
Your alma mater may still solicit you for donations even if you've never made a donation. :annoyed
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:59 pm
I feel zero guilt about not contributing to more administrative bloat, bigger marquees, fancier dorms, and amazing recreational facilities.
+1.

Whenever I receive a solicitation from my alma mater, the first thing that comes to my mind is how much money I spent on tuition fees and textbooks. I might mention this the next time I get a call from my alma mater. :P
I donate the minimum required to buy tickets to football/basketball games.

When they called recently as part of their fall fund drive I had a pleasant conversation with the student, but declined to contribute more given I'm still figuring out how I'll pay for the last kid's college starting next fall...

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by dbr » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:36 pm

It's up to you. My personal feeling is that there are so many needs in the world that more justify my support that contributions to my almae matres are probably in that 1001 out of a 1000 category.

As a matter of proportion when the big class reunion gift year came around it was amusing to see that the donor list/suggested donations started at the top with $10,000,000. It becomes evident very fast that anything I can donate is utterly meaningless.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by KlangFool » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:40 pm

OP,

I donate to my college and food bank.

The reasons why I donate to my college

A) It is a poorly funded state university in the state. 50% of the student worked full-time. It is not one of those private liberal art colleges.

B) I worked at the university while I was getting my BSEE and MSEE. So, the university paid me and trained me for my career. I graduated with 8K of savings.

C) My employer matched my contribution.

D) The university started a fund this year to help student affected by the hurricane to pay for their tuition. I donated my money to this fund.

E) I promised myself that when I am rich enough, I will donate to the university. I had crossed that threshold.

In summary, it could use the money and it could help someone.

KlangFool
Last edited by KlangFool on Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by jalbert » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:55 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:51 pm
dodecahedron wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:36 pm
By the way, college admissions officers pay big fees to consultants who use econometric methods to predict which applicants will be most likely to donate generously after college graduation.
Are you sure about this ? A significant percentage of students at top schools are south asian and asians. These types generally come from very frugally minded households and don't donate much. When I look at the list of donors , I rarely see an asian sounding name..
FYI from:

http://harvardpolitics.com/harvard/cult ... versities/
Hong Kong has become the top international source of large gifts to U.S. colleges. As a matter of fact, Hong Kong donations make up 17 percent of the world’s total donations to U.S. universities. Both China and Hong Kong figure prominently in the list of top ten sources of donations to U.S. colleges from January 2007 to November 2013. Hong Kong is first, with $181 million worth of donations given to U.S. colleges. China is eighth, at $60.4 million.
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by jdb » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:08 pm

Interesting conversation. I do not contribute to my undergraduate alma mater, a state university where I was an in state student who did not get financial aid but worked his way through school and which pays its football coach several million dollars a year, which I find aggravating even if they do make the college playoffs. OTOH, we give not insubstantial monies to my graduate school, University of Chicago, a private institution which provided me substantial grants and dropped football 80 years ago. Smart decision in my opinion. Each to his or her own. Good luck.
Last edited by jdb on Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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