Donating to Your Alma Mater: Is it Worth It?


Students spend four (or more) years paying tuition to their school. Upon graduation, many students find that the requests for donations begin with zeal. Whether or not to donate is entirely up to the individual.

The average cost of tuition per year at a four-year university in North America varies from around $8,000 for public schools to $40,000 for private colleges and universities. That is roughly $32,000 to $160,000 spent on college tuition. And those figures typically do not include books, supplies and dorm expenses.

Considering many students' finances are stretched thin by the time they graduate, the decision to donate to one's alma mater may become less about "will you" donate and more about "can you" donate. There are valid points to both sides of the equation.


Donating to a school has merit. It can help fund programs for future students. If you thoroughly enjoyed your school and want others to experience what you did, donating can be a good way to help keep the doors open. An alumni association tip is that it isn't generally the number of dollars received that makes a difference but the number of actual people donating to help schools qualify for grants and other assistance programs. So if you can donate only $10 or $20 dollars, that may be enough.

Another advantage to donating is if you would like to keep the doors of communication open with your school. There may be certain perks associated with donating, such as special newsletters or opportunities to be part of events on campus. If you want to remain active in the school, donating provides that opportunity.


Students who were not happy with their education or feel the politics of the school didn't mesh with their beliefs often choose not to donate.

Another factor that turns graduates off might be the school's approach to fundraising. For example, schools that are aggressive in their solicitations for donations may turn off people who would normally donate.

Many people feel there are other causes more worthy of their money, and if they have the resources to spare, would rather donate the funds to causes they find more in need.

Some people would like to donate but simply cannot spare a cent to do so. Oftentimes, the grace period before student loan repayment begins is a mere six months after graduation. For students whose efforts at finding a job have been stymied by a stalled economy, donating simply may not be an option.


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