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Higher education funding expert Jennifer Delaney speaks about decreasing state funds, importance of philanthropy

by Tui Rademaker / Oct 4, 2013

Jennifer Delaney, assistant professor in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, was recently interviewed byThe Michigan Daily to speak about the University of Michigan's presidential search and higher education funding.

OCTOBER 3, 2013, THE MICHIGAN DAILY — As the Presidential Search Advisory Committee continues its hunt for the University’s next leader, one of their foremost concerns will be finding an administrator capable of planning for and meeting the future needs of the institution. To do that, an experienced, proven fundraiser will be critical.

With state appropriations declining by more than 26 percent over a 10 year period — dropping from $416 million in 2002 to $308 million in 2012 according to the University’s 2012 financial report — the University’s Board of Regents has said that any future president will be expected to maintain and build relationships with donors.

During the September 2013 University Board of Regents meeting, Jerry May, the University’s vice president of development, reported that 129,000 donors had made gifts to the University during the 2013 financial year. Gifts totaled $357 million — a number that has, on average, increased over recent years…

“(Fundraising is) huge at a school like Michigan, because a school like Michigan has to both be a public university in terms of its philosophy and a private university in terms of its fundraising,” May said.

Jennifer Delaney, an education professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and expert in higher education funding, said decreasing state funding has forced universities to look for alternative sources of revenue, which often come in the form of charitable donations.

To conveniently match this need, she said philanthropists are increasingly viewing higher education as an attractive option.

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