Educational donations needed for continued growth

We’ve all had our moments, fueled by sleep deprivation and caffeine overdoses, when we’ve hated Carnegie Mellon and our decision to come here — there are a number of Facebook groups that give testament to this fact. Overall, however, we’d like to think that most of us end up leaving college with a sense of pride and accomplishment, and a desire to see our school continue to do well in the future. One way alumni often choose to demonstrate this pride is by supporting to their university with a donation.

In the past year, however, gifts to colleges and nations across the United States have declined by almost 12 percent, as noted by the Council for Aid to Education’s annual survey. This is the sharpest drop in the 53 years the survey has been taken, according to The New York Times. The article also mentioned that alumni donations alone dropped by 18 percent. Over the previous 10 years, total contributions had increased by an average of 4.1 percent per year, according to the same Times article, which makes this year’s drop even more obvious.

Although it is likely that the economic state is a major factor in this decline, it still paints a rather bleak picture for universities, especially for schools like Carnegie Mellon that already have a markedly smaller endowment than a majority of Ivy League institutions. This means less money that the university is able to offer to students for scholarships and grants, and less money that it is able to draw from for projects aimed at university improvements.

With this in mind, it is even more important that this year’s seniors, along with Carnegie Mellon’s alumni, remember how important their donations are, even if all they can afford after paying for their four (or more) years here is $10 or $20. As annoying as all the letters, e-mails, and Facebook messages asking for donations may be, they really do make a difference to the school, and in turn, what the school is able to offer to its students.