Who Is Giving and Why? ACE, TIAA Institute Explore Philanthropic Trends in Higher Education
March 27, 2019

Pulling data from several sources, a new report from ACE and the TIAA Institute examines the roles of economic and demographic forces in higher education philanthropy’s changing landscape.

American higher education received $58.9 billion—the second largest share of $410 billion in total given—in 2017, only behind giving to religion. Further analysis of giving from 2000-2017 reveals trends in who gives to higher education, when they give, and what size gifts they make. 


Key questions this paper examines:

  • How are patterns of philanthropy to higher education changing?
  • How do economic and socio-demographic factors explain the changes in giving to higher education over time?
  • What fraction of Americans are giving, how much are they giving overall, and how does this impact higher education?

The paper was authored by Una Osili, professor of economics and philanthropic studies and associate dean of research and international programs, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. It was made possible by a grant from the TIAA Institute. The paper is part of a broader collaboration between ACE and TIAA Institute to examine trends in philanthropy in support of higher education and to support college and university leaders’ strategic consideration of philanthropy as a financial sustainability tool.

You can also click here to hear an audiocast from Amy Holmes, program director at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, during a session at ACE2018 called “Trends in Private Foundation Giving to Colleges and Universities,” also made possible by TIAA Institute.