Pepper Rutland - Alumni GivingA previously attended college or university is commonly referred to as an alma mater, which is latin for nourishing mother. When you think about the ways in which our college experience, the education we receive and connections we make, shape us, there is no more fitting description. College is the beginning of a new life, a place where, as a young adult, ones eyes are opened and his person prepared to engage the “real world.” Hence, as alumni, the least we can do is return the favor to our “mothers,” for the following reasons:


    1. Help The Less Fortunate
      College isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s getting more expensive every year. Since the 90s, the average cost of higher education has increased by 6.5% annually, and that’s just for public institutions. So, while everyone needs a college degree to advance in the today’s job market, it is often out of reach for those who can’t afford it. Alumni donations are one of the ways universities are able to provide scholarships to need-based students, so that money alone doesn’t prohibit them from success.
    2. Support Research Efforts
      Many of our nation’s colleges are also involved in robust research projects related to medicine, tech and a number of other fields. Quite often public colleges are provided with funds for these endeavors from the state; however, private funding can strengthen the university’s capacity for scientific discovery, with money for: additional hiring, more time, and/or new equipment.
    3. Enhance Infrastructure
      Speaking of new equipment, many schools could use an update to buildings in which classes are held or where students live. Renovation projects are a facelift to the university, which bring it more in-line with the realities as well as the demands of the 21st century. Quality infrastructure is an integral part of the college experience and arguably just as important as education.
    4. Strengthen Competitiveness
      In addition to funding academics, supporting the university’s athletics department is also a positive move. More specifically, studies show that quality college football programs are correlated with giving from other alumni, increased interest in the university overall, and higher admission of top-tier students, based on SAT scores. Thus, giving money to make the university’s sports programs more competitive is a benefit to the entire school. 
    5. Maintain Prestige
      Lastly, supporting your alma mater doesn’t just help others, it helps you as well. When all of the aforementioned factors are taken into consideration (how donations lead to: a more diverse, smarter student body; robust research programs; an aesthetically pleasing and modern campus; and quality athletics), it’s clear that giving back helps the university maintain a reputation of excellence, which reaffirms and bolsters the value of your own degree. That’s something to think about.