In the Summer 2010 edition of IUP Magazine, readers learned of the funding shortfall IUP and its sister institutions in Pennsylvania face. In truth, public universities across the nation have found themselves in the very same situation.
Like it or not, we at IUP, just like all other public institutions, are forced to have conversations about cuts, and we are forced to make considerations about making up for shortfalls. One way we make them up is through increased fundraising. An article in the January 15, 2011, edition of the New York Times, which included interviews with administrators from numerous public universities, described the shared situation in which we find ourselves:
When the State University of New York at Geneseo surveyed its alumni three years ago as part of a plan to increase fund-raising, the initial response was heartening. Former students described their time there with words like “love” and “the best four years.” Then came what one administrator, Michael J. Catillaz, called “the cold shower.” Asked if they would donate, almost all said they thought the university was financed entirely by the state. The state’s contribution was actually 25 percent, and it has been dropping ever since.
“Inviting alumni in large numbers to actively support the college is a foreign notion,” said Mr. Catillaz, the vice president for college advancement.
Fortunately, IUP’s alumni and friends are not unaccustomed to being asked to help us financially, and many respond positively. Still, you might wonder what we do with your financial support when we receive it.
Because we do not receive budget funds that support such activity, we currently are seeking gifts that will fund scholarship activity—in the form of renewable scholarship dollars to assist with tuition for upperclassmen or to help fund extra experiences, such as the cost of attending scholarly conferences or defraying the cost of internships. Likewise, the previous article explains how we would like to see our libraries system’s largest complex evolve—an effort that would take extra funding—now that the structure itself recently was repaired and refurbished. Funds designated by the state solely for that purpose paid for the library’s repairs and enhancements. We also are most interested in replenishing our Dean’s Innovation Funds, which allow our colleges to use gifts in the way they feel is most prudent. In some cases, dean’s funds are used for equipment; in others, the funding provides for faculty research and scholarship activities.
The point, of course, is that we try to use gifts in ways that the shrinking state allocation cannot be used.
If making a difference in the lives of our students and your university is important to you, one venue to give in a modest yet meaningful way is through our Annual Fund. Larger gifts usually require more planning on your part, and so planned giving is another viable option for many people. If you want to make a commitment today but need to defer your gift for a different time in your life—or upon your death— there are many options that you may choose that can help to ensure the university’s financial stability in the future and at the same time assist you with certain tax situations.
Regardless of your method, your choice to help IUP works to strengthen the very degree you earned here. The more our students and programs continue to succeed, the more our good reputation is solidified.