Higher education continues to increase tuition despite record-breaking donations

As colleges rake in more donations than ever before, they are still raising tuition and student fees.

In early June, Campus Reform reported that '27 of America’s top 30 universities are raising tuition and fees for the next academic year.'

Several colleges and universities are reporting recording-breaking fundraising totals for the 2022 fiscal year. But as colleges rake in more donations than ever before, they are still raising tuition and student fees. 

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), for example, has reported that its latest donations received have surpassed prior records. 

According to a July 22 article published by Penn State's administration, this year’s fundraising “achievement places Penn State among an elite group of colleges and universities nationwide, and the total reflects the largest single fundraising year in the University’s history, with commitments of more than $437 million from alumni and friends in 2021-22 that will meet priorities across Penn State.”  

That same month, however, “the Penn State Board of Trustees voted 26-6 to approve a raise in tuition for the 2022-23 academic year,” according to WGAL8

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The decision of the Board to raise tuition appears unnecessary in light of Penn State’s self-proclaimed philanthropic victory. But it does follow the trend of top universities in the nation. 

In early June, Campus Reform reported that “27 of America’s top 30 universities are raising tuition and fees for the next academic year."

However, this trend goes beyond the nation’s top 30. Smaller universities such as those belonging to the Southern Illinois University (SIU) System reported record-breaking donation totals and announced tuition and student fee increases as well.

“New students at SIU Edwardsville will see a two-percent increase in tuition,” according to WSIU Public Radio

Meanwhile, SIU bragged about how it “[raised] more than $32 million” in the fiscal year 2022 in a Southern Illinois University Foundation announcement titled, “SIU Foundation smashes fundraising records.” 

Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation was quoted in the July announcement saying, “[w]hat we witnessed in FY22 was support for the university, its students and faculty at an unprecedented level… To everyone who has supported the university through the SIU Foundation, we are sincerely grateful. This kind of historic support is humbling.”

SIU raised more than $32 million, “a 25.5 percent increase over last year.” 

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Missouri State University (MSU) and Davidson College in North Carolina are among other schools that reported having received a record-breaking total number of donations. 

Davidson College, in fact, “celebrated more than $114.9 million raised from alums, families, faculty, staff, students and friends.” And MSU broke its previous record “by almost $7 million.”

Despite these large increases in donations, however, both universities increased tuition and student fees for the 2022-23 academic year.

And many more are set to raise tuition every year, "often in the range of 3 to 4 percent.”

Florida A&M University (FAMU) is among the few, if not the only, university that has assisted students by using its funds to offset tuition spikes. FAMU “raised a record $23.1 million so far, a 70 percent increase over a year ago.” 

The Florida school passed on $57 million to students earlier this year for student “debt relief and tuition assistance.”

Campus Reform reached out to all universities and colleges mentioned. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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