USC ranks 3rd in nation for fundraising, bested by Harvard and Stanford

Stock market increases helped fuel gifts to higher education, which totaled more than $37 billion nationwide

USC is once again ranked third among U.S. universities for its fundraising successes, according to a national survey being released Wednesday. USC was reported to have received nearly $732 million in gifts in 2014.

The annual survey by the Council for Aid to Education found that Harvard University was first, with $1.16 billion in donations, setting a new record. Stanford came next, with $928.4 million. For 2013 results, the previous report put Stanford first, Harvard second and USC third.

Other schools among the top 10 fundraisers in 2014 -– all above $460 million -- were Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, University of Texas at Austin, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington and Columbia. Three other California campuses were in the top 20: UC San Francisco was 12th, with about $445 million; UCLA, 16th, garnered $430.2 million; UC Berkeley, 18th, at nearly $390 million.

The council's Voluntary Support of Education survey showed that philanthropy to higher education reached a new high in 2014. Donations to colleges and universities totaled $37.45 billion, up 10.8% from the previous year. Such giving has more than recovered since the slump that occurred in 2009 after the stock market crash.  The stock market’s substantial increases in 2014 helped boost donations, the report said.

The report was released as USC announced that it had raised $4 billion in gifts and pledges toward its ambitious campaign goal of $6 billion by June 2018. In a letter to the campus community Tuesday, USC President C.L. Max Nikias thanked donors and fundraisers but warned against complacency.

“We still have $2 billion left to raise, and the final stretch of any campaign is always the most difficult,” Nikias wrote. 

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