A survey conducted by the Council for Aid to Education’s Voluntary Support of Education reported that USC ranked third in highest financial contributions from donors last year.
In 2013, USC received a total of $674.5 million in donations, behind Stanford University and Harvard University, who were ranked first and second, respectively. The survey also found that overall university philanthropy is increasing slowly since a dip after the 2008 recession.
According to the Council for Aid to Education’s website, the Voluntary Support of Education survey “is the authoritative national source of data on charitable giving to higher education and private K-12 institutions.”
USC Senior Vice President of Finance Robert Abeles commented on the prestige of being ranked among schools with long histories of receiving large financial gifts.
“To be ranked in fundraising alongside universities such as Stanford and Harvard is a wonderful tribute to the generosity of our alumni, parents, grandparents and others who support our commitment to becoming one of the world’s great institutions of higher learning,” Abeles said.
USC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Garrett commented on the successful fundraising efforts of USC President C. L. Max Nikias.
“Traditionally, people thought the Ivy League is the giant donors,” Garrett said. “We’ve seen USC rising in the ranks, though. In this respect, the president’s audacious fundraiser campaign has been more successful than any of us have expected. It’s a very credible kind of success,” Garrett said.
Garrett also commented on how the generosity of donors will greatly benefit student scholarship funds.
“What makes me particularly excited is that the fundraising efforts are for academics,” Garrett said. “We will be increasing student scholarships, and much of the money has been allocated for academic priority.”
The provost said the fundraising efforts have culminated in a variety of donations.
“We’ve had, in this campaign, more than 200,000 individual donations. Quite a bit of fundraising comes from parents of students, and happy parents means happy students,” Garrett said.
Many USC students had similarly positive responses regarding the generosity of alumni and other donors, though they had differing views on how the contributions should be allocated throughout the university.
Sarkis Ekmekian, a junior majoring in communication, commented on the Trojan Family’s generous contribution to the upcoming Wallis Annenberg Hall building.
“I think it’s amazing and it shows how dedicated the Trojan Family is and how much people appreciate what USC has done for them,” Ekmekian said. “I’m positive the school will utilize all these funds to provide more amazing resources for us, such as the new Annenberg building, which I am extremely excited about.”
Shayna Lurey, a sophomore majoring in business administration, hopes to see more funds distributed to student scholarship funds.
“I think it’s great that USC has the ability to improve our campus and provide scholarships to so many Trojans,” Lurey said. “Hopefully, the generosity of our alumni will contribute to even more scholarship opportunities for students in need.”
Adam Syed, a junior majoring in psychology, similarly wants to see the contributions go toward academic scholarships for students.
“I think that’s good; I just hope a portion of the money goes toward financial aid and scholarship funds because a lot of students need financial help,” Syed said.