Kent State has third consecutive university-best fundraising year

Simon Husted

Private donors gave Kent State University $42.1 million in donations this past fiscal year. That’s more than $2 million more than last year and the highest amount the university has ever raised.

The end of the 2011 fiscal year also marks a three-year trend in which the university has raised more than $2 million than the prior year.

Fundraising timeline

• $42.1 million – FY 2011

• $39.9 million – FY 2010

• $37.0 million – FY 2009

• $27.9 million – FY 2008

• $27.7 million – FY 2007

Brian Thornton, manager of advancement communications, said the Centennial Campaign has been a big help to the fundraising efforts.

“We’ve been in a campaign that’s built a stronger emphasis,” Thornton said.

The Centennial Campaign, which began in 2007, is a fundraising campaign that seeks to raise $250 million by July 2012. The campaign now stands at $239.4 million, a little more than $10 million shy of the goal.

Emily Vincent, director of university media relations, said more private investment is one more way the university hopes to compensate for a $16 million cut in funding from the state.

The university announced a tuition hike of 3.5 percent two weeks ago, which is the maximum percentage increase allowed by the state. The University’s Division of Business and Finance used current enrollment figures to estimate the hike will generate $10.39 million — more than $5 million short of the gap created by the cut in state funding. Vincent said projections for Fall 2011 enrollment aren’t yet available.

More student aid will be made available, with $6.4 million of the total raised being allocated to new and existing scholarships. The Kent State University Foundation gave $6.1 million to scholarship funds last year.

Kent State was named most improved public research and/or doctoral institution by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) a couple weeks ago, along with Florida International University.

CASE bases its winners on its fundraising growth over the last three years, Thornton said.

“It was hard crunching data they looked at,” Thornton said.

Simon Husted is a Summer Kent Stater reporter.

Contact him at [email protected].