By Matthew Keenan
Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Stanford University raised the most money among academic institutions for the third year in a row, aided by a $51 million donation from the estate of a 1927 graduate.
Stanford received $832.4 million, beating Harvard University's $614 million, according to an annual study released today by the New York-based Council for Aid to Education. Contributions to U.S. undergraduate colleges and universities rose 6.3 percent to $29.8 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, said the survey of 1,023 participants.
Hillsdale College, a Michigan school that refuses government money, led in fundraising by liberal arts institutions. Hillsdale raised $65.8 million, the third-highest amount for an independent liberal arts college.
``A couple of big things happened,'' said Larry Arnn, the 55-year-old president of Hillsdale, which received a $19 million estate settlement, as well as two gifts that helped finance a new student union. ``Without them, we would have had a very good year and, with them, we had a great year.''
Stanford, near Palo Alto, California, gathered the second- highest amount ever by a U.S. university, falling short of the record $911.2 million it raised a year earlier. Stanford has led in garnering funds since fiscal 2005. Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was the top-ranked university in fiscal 2004.
`Breadth of Support'
``There's a real breadth of support here,'' said Martin Shell, 50, Stanford's vice president for development, citing more than 70,000 individual donors.
About $100 million came from estates and wills, Shell said. The estate of Dudley Chambers, a member of Stanford's class of 1927, gave an unanticipated gift of $51 million, the university's largest bequest.
Chambers, who died in 2005, a month short of his 100th birthday, mostly gave stock in General Electric Co., where he worked for four decades as an engineer. The gift supports scientific and technological research, faculty support and student aid, Shell said.
Stanford, the third-richest school, is conducting a $4.3 billion fundraising campaign, the biggest by a university. Officially opened in October 2006 and scheduled to close in 2011, the drive has accumulated $3.1 billion in gifts and pledges. The council's survey covers only money collected in the fiscal year, not deferred gifts.
Stanford Student Aid
Stanford today announced that it, like Harvard and Yale University, was eliminating tuition for students coming from families earning less than $100,000, according to a statement. The school also said families earning $60,000 or less wouldn't have to pay any costs at all.
In addition, Stanford eliminated student loans. To pay for the increases, the school has raised its financial aid fundraising goal to $200 million, the statement said.
Harvard, the oldest and richest U.S. college, said its total was $19 million more than in fiscal 2006 and the second- best for the school, trailing only the $658 million raised in fiscal 2001.
Among its grants were $12 million from the Princeton, New Jersey-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for health-policy work and scholarships, and $10.6 million for global-health initiatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates started the foundation in 1994 with about $94 million. It is the world's biggest foundation, with $38.7 billion in an endowment.
Hillsdale, founded in 1844, was the first U.S. college whose charter barred discrimination based on race and religion, according to its Web site. The 1,300-student school, 90 miles west of Detroit, was named one of the ``Top 10 Conservative Colleges'' by the Young America's Foundation, a Herndon, Virginia-based outreach organization promoting what it calls conservative political ideas.
``That's a fair description of us, but that's actually an effect, not a cause,'' Arnn said in an interview. Referring to a curriculum heavy on great-books seminars and classical languages, he said Hillsdale is ``a liberal arts college in a very classical sense.''
Pat Sajak, in his 26th year as the host of television's ``Wheel of Fortune,'' is vice chairman of Hillsdale's board. Among its alumni is Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, the Moyock, North Carolina-based security firm investigated over the alleged shootings of civilians in Iraq last September.
Hillsdale has never accepted direct government aid, saying the federal government has no constitutional role in education.
Refusing State Aid
In the 1970s, the school opposed the U.S. Education Department's contention that taking money through government- backed student loans made it subject to regulation. By the time the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Hillsdale in 1984, the college had chosen to stop taking loan money. Last August, Hillsdale turned down aid from the state of Michigan.
The college compensates for its students' lost government aid with privately funded grants and loans.
Hillsdale is nearing the scheduled end of a $400 million capital campaign, one of the largest by a liberal arts school.
Besides the estate settlement, Hillsdale in 2007 received most of a three-year, $15 million gift from William Grewcock, former vice chairman of construction firm Peter Kiewit Sons Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska; and his wife, Berniece. The student union was named for them, and a commons area in the building was named for trustee Robert Richardson, who gave $3 million.
Colgate University, in Hamilton, New York, raised $65.2 million, the second-most by a liberal arts school last year. Wellesley College, the women's school outside Boston, received $64.2 million; Middlebury College, in Vermont, $58.6 million; and Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs, New York, $56.8 million.
Hillsdale's total trailed only the liberal arts record of $131 million raised by Furman University, in Greenville, South Carolina, in 2004 and Wellesley's $88 million in 2005, said Ann Kaplan, survey director for the Council for Aid to Education.
Among research institutions last year, the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, followed Stanford and Harvard by raising $469.7 million. Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, obtained $430.5 million, while Columbia University, in New York, raised $423.9 million.
To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Keenan in Boston at firstname.lastname@example.org Last Updated: February 20, 2008 11:07 EST