The figures for another year have been calculated, and once again American supporters of higher education, led by California university supporters, have established new records in their gifts to universities and colleges. This is a reassuring measure of the value placed by the citizens of the United States on these institutions.
Total voluntary support of colleges and universities reached $5.6 billion in 1984, an increase of 8.5% over the previous year. For the first time in recent years, non-alumni individuals were the most substantial supporters, giving more than alumni or business corporations or foundations.
Harvard University led with gifts of $125 million, followed by Stanford University with $112 million, Yale and Columbia with $75 million each, and Cornell with $73 million. The other major recipients were UCLA, $64 million; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, $63 million; Princeton, $58 million; USC and the University of Chicago, $55 million each.
In California, support totaled $527 million for 69 colleges and universities. Unlike the nation as a whole, business corporations led the list of donors with $148 million, followed by foundations, $130 million; non-alumni, $123 million, and alumni, $73 million. The principal recipients--in addition to Stanford, UCLA and USC--were UC-Berkeley, $38 million; Caltech, $28 million; UC-San Francisco, $19 million; UC-San Diego, $18 million, and Loyola-Marymount, $14 million. The University of California in its entirety led the nation, with gifts totaling $173 million to all campuses.
The figures are persuasive evidence not only of broad public support but, without question, also of the importance of the tax deductions now in force that are incentives for the most substantial gifts. In an analysis of individual gifts for current operations, the Council for Financial Aid to Education found that 15,183 gifts of $5,000 or more accounted for $401.8 million while 3,425,792 smaller gifts totaled $368.2 million. That is a good argument not to tinker with charitable tax deductions in reforming tax laws.