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November 13, 2015

Major Campaigns Show Public Universities' Rising Ambitions

Texas A&M University's newly announced $4 billion capital campaign signals public colleges' growing push to compete with their private peers for philanthropic dollars, Bloomberg writes.

The Texas A&M campaign, publicly launched this week, is the latest in a series of multibillion-dollar drives by state colleges facing declines in government funding and rising pressure to keep a lid on tuition. The University of California at Los Angeles is in the midst of $4.2 billion campaign, while the universities of Michigan and Wisconsin are looking raise $4 billion and $3.2 billion, respectively.

"These flagship schools have been forced to rely on private philanthropy to try to keep up," said Rob Reich, co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University. "Texas A&M and others should keep in mind that a thriving system depends on public dollars."

Private universities Stanford, Harvard, and Cornell have topped $6 billion in recent or ongoing campaigns. Overall giving for higher education jumped 11 percent to an all-time high of $37.5 billion in the year ended June 2014, according to the Council for Aid to Education.