Could Ivy League fundraising ruin higher education?
- Harvard University recently set a new record for fundraising volume, earning more than $7 billion in private gifts and donations.
- As elite institutions continue to raise and save billions without tax implications or controls for investing, smaller institutions will not be able to keep pace with the resources and value offered at Ivy League institutions.
- Some observers predict the trend of rising support for the nation's wealthiest universities will subvert the next industrial revolution by limiting the capacity and innovation exposure of most Americans to meet the changing needs of the country's workforce.
Regions throughout the country are growing more impoverished by the year, and while they could find new paths to development through higher education, they are limited in states' divestment in public colleges and universities. Add to that rising costs and the increasing demand for credentials and workforce experience, and the nation could soon be facing a crisis where there are millions of jobs and not enough qualified employees to fill them.
Colleges must take the lead in explaining to alumni the value of giving and to legislators the industrial value of investing in higher education, and realize the need for higher education to become more concerned with workforce development. While some leaders may believe college is still a place primarily for inspiration and exposure, allowing students to leave without an industrial focus or skills built around industrial needs only spells disaster in federal assessment metrics and the ability convincing families that college remains the premier tool to escape or avoid poverty.