Since colonial times voluntary support has been a major factor in the financing of American higher education. It is estimated by the Council for Financial Aid to Education that the total voluntary support of institutions of higher education in 1971-72 was slightly over $2 billion. This represents an increase of $160 million or 8.6% over the $1.8 billion received in 1970-71.2 Private philanthropy is not limited to private colleges but is increasingly being extended to state-controlled institutions so that in 1971-72 such state-controlled institutions received over 21% of the total voluntary support to higher education. The financial plight of colleges and universities has been well documented by the leveling off of admissions, the increases in tuition to meet the rising costs of running an institution, and the number of institutions invading their endowment funds in order to meet current expenses.' In this light, it seems to be sound public policy, and also good economics, for Congress to increase and broaden the scope of voluntary support to higher education. Indeed, the quality and vitality of American institutions in the coming years are substantially linked to the volume of charitable gifts. Maintaining the fiscal health of institutions which are in financial difficulty is in the national interest as a preservation of one of the nation's assets. Society cannot afford to allow its colleges and universities to deteriorate beyond the point where rehabilitation becomes unreasonable.
Sheldon E. Steinbach,
Tax Reform and the Voluntary Support of Higher Education,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol8/iss2/6