Author Topic: Do you give back to your College/University?  (Read 23658 times)

wealthviahealth

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Do you give back to your College/University?
« on: April 23, 2014, 05:54:40 PM »
Giving back to my university to support student scholarships and programs I was apart of is important to me
and my contributions have not decreased since getting on a stricter savings plan.
Curious if others on here still make it a point to give back to their  university and if their giving has in anyway been affected since adopting mustachian principles. 

squatman

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2014, 06:05:51 PM »
I won't give my alma mater a cent until I pay off my student loans - we'll see after that.

MDM

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2014, 06:13:34 PM »
We used to - until we started "donating" to our children's ;).

PindyStache

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 06:21:29 PM »
I give a fairly perfunctory amount every year ($50-75/yr). I had a very positive experience and mostly want to help how they are rated on alumni participation.

Tyler

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2014, 06:29:55 PM »
Paying for scholarships is noble, but at some level it feels like subsidizing their ridiculous tuition rates.  I have a tough time supporting that.

dragoncar

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2014, 06:37:56 PM »
My god, I paid full tuition.  Now they want more?  No way.

Grateful Stache

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2014, 06:57:28 PM »
My alma mater pays for three football coaches whom they fired, is constantly building new facilities and 'upgrading' things that are perfectly fine. Because of this, I feel like they need to learn how to manage their own money before I give them mine.

However, if you benefited from a scholarship or some other program, I could see how you would want to give back. To each their own.   
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 07:15:03 PM by Grateful Stache »

GoldenStache

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2014, 07:00:29 PM »
Nope..

I thought they charged too much for what it was then, even worse now. 

greaper007

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2014, 08:45:19 PM »
Yes, it was called tuition...

Emilyngh

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2014, 09:26:50 PM »
No.   My alma mater is an extremely wealthy institution and there are better uses of charity I have to give.

kaizen

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2014, 09:29:21 PM »
They get my $$ for season tickets every year, and I think that's enough. I might consider donating a Jackson here and there, if they didn't always call at bath time every night for a week or more in a row. Finally I blocked the number.

Argyle

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2014, 09:32:13 PM »
You bet.  I went to an expensive place, but it was worth every penny.  And even though they charge a very high tuition, I know from working as a volunteer alum that tuition covers only about 70% of the costs of the education.  The rest comes from donations from alums, grants, and fundraising.   It is simply expensive to educate people in small classes, upgrade computers and electronics all the time, keep the library up to date, maintain the buildings, and pay people a living wage.

I also work at a university (to which I do not donate).  They certainly spend more money here on sports than I am happy with.  I do know, though, that every time they try to cut back on sports spending, a flood of alumni howls comes forth, people declaring "I'll never donate another red cent after what you've done to the program!" and so forth.  So half the alumni declare they'll only donate for sports and the other half declare they won't donate because there's too much emphasis on sports.  What to do?  They're definitely between a rock and a hard place there.

On the whole, though, I don't think my determination to be financially independent should spill over into selfishness if I have money beyond the basics, and I do, I think it's right to support things I believe in.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2014, 10:15:34 PM »
No, although they've been aggressive about asking.  Why? It comes down to a few reasons:

1) I worked and took out loans for my schooling. I didn't benefit from alumni giving, and so feel no sense of reciprocity.

2) Since graduating, I've seen the university throw millions at building fancy digs for athletes, while passing the costs to other students via "recreation fees." I feel academics have taken second fiddle and this diminishes any "giving" feelings I might have.

3) When I do donate $$$, I think there are other causes that are more important. I'm concerned about civil liberties and the influence of money in our political system. I focus my resources there.

4) Frankly I'm no longer convinced that a traditional 4 year degree has the same value it used to.

SIS

oldtoyota

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2014, 10:20:57 PM »
I was walking around the campus of a school that charges about $50,000 for tuition. This is not a top school and not one I attended. I noticed their landscaping. I'm pretty sure that they purchased all of the flowers in the tri-state area and planted them on their campus. I wonder how much that cost?

I do not give to either school I attended although I would give directly to the programs I attended, if asked. I would not want the general university to have my money to mismanage. As with other schools mentioned here, my two schools are busy building luxury dorms, luxury stadiums, etc, etc.








dragoncar

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2014, 10:35:22 PM »
You bet.  I went to an expensive place, but it was worth every penny.  And even though they charge a very high tuition, I know from working as a volunteer alum that tuition covers only about 70% of the costs of the education.  The rest comes from donations from alums, grants, and fundraising.   It is simply expensive to educate people in small classes, upgrade computers and electronics all the time, keep the library up to date, maintain the buildings, and pay people a living wage.

Yeah, I went to an expensive restaurant last year, and it was worth every penny.  I know they offer a Groupon, so they are partially subsidizing certain meals.  I still send them a few extra bucks every now and then, just to say thanks.

oldtoyota

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2014, 10:40:00 PM »
You bet.  I went to an expensive place, but it was worth every penny.  And even though they charge a very high tuition, I know from working as a volunteer alum that tuition covers only about 70% of the costs of the education.  The rest comes from donations from alums, grants, and fundraising.   It is simply expensive to educate people in small classes, upgrade computers and electronics all the time, keep the library up to date, maintain the buildings, and pay people a living wage.

Have fewer buildings. Rely on a consortium for books. Pay the President less. Both of my former schools have hundreds of buildings. Each requires their own heating and A/C unit, janitors to clean the floors, etc.


Rube

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2014, 10:41:33 PM »
Absolutely not. Public institution and I have a strong beef with them on a particular issue. I would consider giving money to the co-curriculars I was involved with. Like many of the peoe I went to school with, the real skills weren't learned in the classroom.

squatman

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2014, 10:54:37 PM »
To those who have beefs with athletic departments and spending: don't most of those funds come from private boosters and donations rather than the general endowment/building fund?

Luck12

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2014, 10:58:14 PM »
Hell no.  I enjoyed my time there and have some good friends from there, but there are better causes to  give to.   Prefer to give directly to programs I'm personally involved with and that help poor kids.  They can think of $$$ for football tickets my contribution.   
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 11:00:28 PM by Luck12 »

Argyle

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2014, 11:15:58 PM »
ShortinSeattle (and others), taking out loans doesn't mean you weren't supported by alumni donations.  The tuition price of the school does not reflect the full price of educating a student.  For instance, if the tuition is $18,000 per year (just pulling a number out of a hat), the real cost of educating that student may well be $25,000 per year or $36,000.  Those extra thousands are covered by grants and donations. 

greaper007

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2014, 02:51:38 AM »
ShortinSeattle (and others), taking out loans doesn't mean you weren't supported by alumni donations.  The tuition price of the school does not reflect the full price of educating a student.  For instance, if the tuition is $18,000 per year (just pulling a number out of a hat), the real cost of educating that student may well be $25,000 per year or $36,000.  Those extra thousands are covered by grants and donations.

And public funds.   Unless you went to some ridiculous private school.

God or Mammon?

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2014, 04:13:20 AM »
Yes, mainly to give my kids an edge in admissions (if they decide to apply) as the legacy factor increases a bit if the alumnus was a consistent (even small amounts) giver over a long period of time.

ch12

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2014, 05:24:59 AM »
Absolutely not. Public institution and I have a strong beef with them on a particular issue. I would consider giving money to the co-curriculars I was involved with. Like many of the people I went to school with, the real skills weren't learned in the classroom.

I have many issues with my alma mater, although I appreciate most of the college experience and the diplomas.

I'd give to some of the foreign language departments or to fund study abroad someday maybe, but other than that I wouldn't give them just general money. The way that the school's foundation works is that all the money is pooled and allocated by them. That wouldn't fly with me, and you are forced to route any donations through the foundation.

I don't give, and I really don't plan to (minus above exceptions).
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 05:27:15 PM by ch12 »

chasesfish

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2014, 05:38:29 AM »
Yes, but its only a little and its directed at the business school. 

cmk

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2014, 05:54:29 AM »
I donated a small amount each year for about 30 years to my very small liberal arts college.  They made it possible for me to attend with generous scholarships and grants, so I felt I owed them.
I stopped donating the last couple of years because my oldest son started at our state university, and we need to live frugally to help him.
My second son has decided to go to a private university, and scholarships and grants bring our responsibility down to a very reasonable amount.   So I'm grateful to the alumni of that university, and have decided to contribute more to my own college for the sake of students who wish to go there.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2014, 06:42:58 AM »
Not in a position to, even if I wanted. Giving while you're still in debt for said school is dumb. I was also turned off by the fact that the INSTANT I graduated, they had their hand out.

When I am able, I won't. Both schools I went to are religious institutions and it doesn't mesh with my currently atheist conscience.

And I can think of so many better uses of charitable dollars than giving to Western universities. Seriously, folks, you give to your schools before food pantries, abuse shelters, or Bill Gates Foundation, etc?

wealthviahealth

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2014, 07:32:43 AM »
Thanks all for the great perspective on this.
I have a few follow up questions-
Some of you have mentioned that you prefer to give back to charities you feel have greater needs, certainly understand this,
I am wondering if some of you are aware of scholarships/programs within your alma mater that are set up to help students from impoverished areas, foster homes, or who are currently struggling to cover basic needs such as personal care products, food, or even books for class and tools required to succeed? 

Would you be more likely to give if there was something tangible you received in return such as scholarship named after your/your family and the opportunity to meet and mentor the students, or perhaps a named classroom/building/ bench/ fountain etc..?

If your alma mater worked at having a meaningful relationship with you post graduation that wasn't solely based on your donations would this have an impact on your desire to give? I,e- invitations to exclusive alumni events, occasional free tickets to games and musical performances, invitations to come back and speak with classrooms about your experience in your field, taking you out to lunch/ coffee to hear your input on current university initiatives and your experience while at the school.
Would love to hear any perspective on this as well.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2014, 07:43:21 AM »
I will give a small amount when my loans are paid, but I can't see giving very much.

LibrarIan

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2014, 08:15:07 AM »
Nope. They sucked enough out of me financially.

Ottawa

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #29 on: April 24, 2014, 08:16:01 AM »
Would you be more likely to give if there was something tangible you received in return such as scholarship named after your/your family and the opportunity to meet and mentor the students, or perhaps a named classroom/building/ bench/ fountain etc..?

If your alma mater worked at having a meaningful relationship with you post graduation that wasn't solely based on your donations would this have an impact on your desire to give? I,e- invitations to exclusive alumni events, occasional free tickets to games and musical performances, invitations to come back and speak with classrooms about your experience in your field, taking you out to lunch/ coffee to hear your input on current university initiatives and your experience while at the school.
Would love to hear any perspective on this as well.

To me, these suggestions are poor returns on investment and blatantly reduce the amount of money directed at the intended source.  Some of the suggestions are also drawing on the egotistical personality types - I'm not a big fan of people who need to be the centre-of-attention to validate themselves.  Accepting there are plenty of people who would be drawn in by these tactics, I don't know how many MMM readers would.   

Some of the other things you mention - speaking to classrooms on field experience are much better suggestions.   They are an offer of your free time and experience - which I believe are much better direction of resources.

As to your original question - I didn't/don't/won't contribute any money to any of my Alma Mater.  I would echo many of the sentiments others have expressed - alot of money was spent during my tertiary education - the Universities have received more than enough from my perspective. 

When I donate money (I would much rather donate time - in FIRE) - it is directed at a 'close to the heart' cause and based on the same research I would employ when choosing an investment vehicle.  As a starting point (for Canadians) I would consider checking out this:

http://www.moneysense.ca/the-2013-charity-100-grades

..which outlines the efficiency of a charity (among other things). 

GuitarStv

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #30 on: April 24, 2014, 08:16:28 AM »
My god, I paid full tuition.  Now they want more?  No way.

That's where I'm at.


It maybe has some effect that school I went to was not well managed:
 - they expanded our engineering department, and concrete walled off the temperature controls for the building.  Winter rolled around and they had to demolish a wall to access them again.

 - they decided to cover the concrete on the ground all around the new engineering building in large pieces of slate.  The expansion/freezing of water over the winter cracked all of the slate.  The slate was replaced the next year.  The cracking came back.  The slate was replaced the next year . . .

 - Every year that I went I paid my tuition in full before the semester started.  The first year, I got a note that I needed to pay an additional 70$.  I went down to the main office, waited in line for several hours, produced my receipts, and was assured that the matter was taken care of.  A couple days later I got a note saying that if I did not immediately pay the 70$, I would be deregistered for class.  I paid the 70$.  Three months later the 70$ was refunded.  OK, screw ups happen whatever.

The second year I went there I got a letter just before classes started saying I needed to pay an additional 70$.  I went to the main office, did the whole thing with the same result as the first year.  Eventually I paid the 70$ and it was refunded back to me three months later.  This also happened year three and year four (although I stopped bothering to talk to them about it).


Don't get me wrong, I had great times, good memories and met some awesome friends there . . . but it was largely in spite of the administration . . . not due to them.

ch12

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #31 on: April 24, 2014, 04:26:10 PM »
I am wondering if some of you are aware of scholarships/programs within your alma mater that are set up to help students from impoverished areas, foster homes, or who are currently struggling to cover basic needs such as personal care products, food, or even books for class and tools required to succeed? 

If anything, that's going to put me off even more. I'd rather help kids from middle class families who have 6 kids but have zero idea how to put them through college.

Would you be more likely to give if there was something tangible you received in return such as scholarship named after your/your family and the opportunity to meet and mentor the students, or perhaps a named classroom/building/ bench/ fountain etc..?

Even worse - I have no desire to have a bench named after me. I owe a debt to mentor female students at some point, but it's not likely to induce me to donate.

If your alma mater worked at having a meaningful relationship with you post graduation that wasn't solely based on your donations would this have an impact on your desire to give? I,e- invitations to exclusive alumni events, occasional free tickets to games and musical performances, invitations to come back and speak with classrooms about your experience in your field, taking you out to lunch/ coffee to hear your input on current university initiatives and your experience while at the school.

I get those invitations all the time. I consider them spam.

My god, I paid full tuition.  Now they want more?  No way.
Don't get me wrong, I had great times, good memories and met some awesome friends there . . . but it was largely in spiteof the administration  . . . not due to them.

+1

nawhite

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #32 on: April 24, 2014, 04:42:07 PM »
I give directly to the student run organizations I participated in as a student (though I make the donation through the alumni office so it gets counted for alumni participation on US News and World Report). I have been bouncing back and forth between the water polo team and the outdoor club. Usually I'll give to the outdoor club on years when I want to borrow a kayak or climbing gear when I'm in town for a weekend.

Actively choose not to give to the general fund or the academic departments because I strongly believe that tuition increases beyond inflation are unnecessary and detrimental. I did not get a 15% better education my senior year vs my freshman year despite the 6% per year tuition increases for incoming students.

pablo suarve

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #33 on: April 24, 2014, 04:45:49 PM »
No ?*&@# way would I donate money to my school.  I already blew enough money on tuition, which only doubled in the short time I attended.

pdxvandal

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #34 on: April 24, 2014, 05:11:15 PM »
I went to a fairly inexpensive in-state school (University of Idaho) where one semester's tuition my freshman year was $800(!) in 1993. I was able to graduate with zero debt thanks to working throughout as well as some help from parents.

That said, I have given small amounts, usually between $100-$250 about every year. The school gave me a great start in life and I was able to comfortably survive, buy a house, and save, on meager salaries -- 22k-33k the first 8 years of my working career.

luigi49

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #35 on: April 24, 2014, 05:19:31 PM »
Why are canadians irrate?  I thought tuition in canada is very reasonable?   

I do give back to my college but not always. 

TreeTired

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #36 on: April 24, 2014, 05:20:14 PM »
I used to give pretty generously (at least it seemed to me)  to the school where my wife and I both earned our MBAs.   We had a great experience, met each other, and the credential from that university certainly helped us launch our careers.  However, as the years went by,  I felt much less inclined to give to this university because they already have a multibillion dollar endowment, and receive regular highly publicized multimillion dollar donations from other very wealthy alumni.  So I basically said, "screw it, they don't need my money"  and stopped a few years back.   This is aside from the view that,  is a university really a charity?   I now give lots of my TIME to worthy causes, and very little money.

Russ

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #37 on: April 24, 2014, 05:25:09 PM »
I was also turned off by the fact that the INSTANT I graduated, they had their hand out.

Mine actually started calling the month before I graduated. Incessantly. Talk about a turn-off.

Argyle

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #38 on: April 24, 2014, 05:33:07 PM »
Just a datapoint: many foundations give money to universities based on the percentage of alumni who donate to the university.  So if you do support your university, an annual gift of $10 or $15 helps raise their alumni-donation percentage, which will be worth more to them than merely $10 or $15.

I grant that university education is not up there with saving starving children etc. in terms of urgency.  Many of the charities we do support are probably not the most urgent there are.  I do give money to an organization that provides health care in the poorest corners of the world (Partners in Health), but I undoubtedly could give more.  However, I also do think my college does real good in the world, and I'm grateful for the alums who donated to make my education more affordable.  Since I'm one of the lucky ones in the world I have a savings account, I have investments, I have a job, and I'm not one of the starving children in a third-world country it only seems reasonable to give rather than just take.

Numbers Man

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #39 on: April 24, 2014, 05:45:20 PM »
I don't give because of the nickel and dime attitude on the students when I was there. For example, the most flagrant was wanting me to check into a hotel because they were too lazy to work past 3pm to check me out of my student housing. Treat your students with respect because eventually some of them might be in a position to donate large sums of money in the future.

dragoncar

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #40 on: April 24, 2014, 06:15:57 PM »
Why are canadians irrate?  I thought tuition in canada is very reasonable?   

I do give back to my college but not always.

Yes, but the taxes that subside tuition are not reasonable?  I dunno, that's why I don't care if my education was subsidized by taxpayer money -- I am (and my parents are) high-tax payers.

plantingourpennies

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #41 on: April 24, 2014, 07:17:40 PM »
We've given to our undergrad alma mater in the past, but haven't in recent years since we felt the stewardship of the funds was lacking. 

We have, however, given to my high school (public magnet) alumni association instead.  While I no longer live in that state, education funding there has been absolutely gutted and I don't want to see the great education I got become unavailable to others who don't have the money for private school.  This last year they had a campaign for specific technology needs and we happily gave to that since I remember using some of the technology and it was old when I was using it... in 1999. 

Crabricorn

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #42 on: April 25, 2014, 12:00:36 AM »
On the day of my dissertation defense (before I defended), the dean walked up to me and started panhandling for a donation! I told him I was on the pre-pay plan and he'd gotten all the money he was going to get out of me. Haven't donated anything and don't plan to. I was a college professor for a time and saw the financial tom-foolery of academia. Makes me even more sure of my decision not to give directly to the alumni association.

dragoncar

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #43 on: April 25, 2014, 12:18:01 AM »
I told him I was on the pre-pay plan

Love it -- did you really come up with that on the fly?

edit: to be fair, don't you usually get paid (very little) for a PHD?

libertarian4321

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #44 on: April 25, 2014, 12:22:57 AM »
I rarely give to the universities I attended as they are private schools that have plenty of money.  Maybe I'll toss them $50 once in a while, but nothing substantial.

My wife and I do provide a small merit based scholarship every year for one student at a local HS in a low income area.  I received a similar scholarship when I graduated  HS (a long time ago) which helped pay for room, board, and other expenses (my tuition was paid for by a scholarship), so I thought it would be a good idea to do the same for someone else.

I also donate to my old HS for certain projects that are not covered by tax money (refurbishing and old theater, etc).  My wife went to an expensive prep school that is always asking for money (though I have no idea why), and we never donate to them.


2527

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #45 on: April 25, 2014, 06:43:56 AM »
Fuck No!  They are a business.  It's like Honda asking me to donate more money to them because I like the car I bought 10 years ago.  If they want more money for students, let them get their President's compensation package under control.

GuitarStv

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #46 on: April 25, 2014, 07:07:16 AM »
Why are canadians irrate?  I thought tuition in canada is very reasonable?   

I do give back to my college but not always.

Yes, but the taxes that subside tuition are not reasonable?  I dunno, that's why I don't care if my education was subsidized by taxpayer money -- I am (and my parents are) high-tax payers.

My tuition wasn't ridiculously high, but it was far from inexpensive.  You also have to remember . . . bitching about things is a very Canadian past time.

dude

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #47 on: April 25, 2014, 07:14:18 AM »
I don't give to my law school -- and don't intend to.  I did not have a good experience there (aside from the good friends I still have) and don't like the what the law school education model has become.  It's a racket and I can't bring myself to support it.

Undergrad, to date I've given little, but I absolutely intend to give more generously once I've paid off my law schoo loans.  I owe almost everything I've become to my undergraduate experience and the academic scholarship I was awared after my freshman year.  I want to earmark my donations for scholarships for students in the same program I benefitted from (the Honors Program).  It was a life-saving game-changer for me, and I'd love to pay that forward to help make it a life-changer for someone else.  I also intend to leave a legacy gift when I die (no kids, and I expect there will still be a fair amount of money in my retirement account even after 30 years of 4% drawdowns) for the same purpose, scholarships for deserving students in the Honors Program.  So really, it's not so much about giving to the school (it's a public institution) but about giving to people who stand in the shoes I once stood in.

lizzzi

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #48 on: April 25, 2014, 07:23:14 AM »
I have given token amounts sometimes. I can't really decide what is the "right" thing to do, especially after reading all the above comments. But I don't think my schools (undergrad. and graduate) are going to suffer from me not donating, and right now I need the money more than they do.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Do you give back to your College/University?
« Reply #49 on: April 25, 2014, 07:43:32 AM »
I give a fairly perfunctory amount every year ($50-75/yr). I had a very positive experience and mostly want to help how they are rated on alumni participation.

me too. I got $10k/yr in scholarships from the school and I had a great experience (I still ended up with A LOT of debt, but thanks to my degree I am able to pay it off pretty quickly). usually I earmark it specifically to my major department, because they were (and still are) fucking awesome, were largely responsible for said positive experience (as well as for the fact that I make good money today), and I know they will spend the money well.

it's also a D-III school so there isn't exorbitant spending on athletics that bothers me or anything. they did build a super fancy new student center with fitness facilities, etc., which is kind of annoying (when I went there everything was pretty old, the fitness facilities available were SUPER small and crappy, which I'm SO OKAY WITH!!! I wish they had just left it!) but not enough to make me stop giving a little, yet. probably a bigger issue that gives me some pause is that they're a Catholic institution, I am definitely NOT Catholic (although I am somewhat religious), and in my years there they had a few high-profile decisions that I DID NOT agree with. in the long run, though, I think it brought about a lot of good discussion. there's a lot of good interfaith discourse in general there, which is something I value highly, and it seems like the administration continues to be pretty introspective about "what it means to be a Catholic university." they actually just hired their first lay president... AND she's a woman! pretty cool.

I can see why people wouldn't want to, though, esp. in the "there are more worthy causes to give to" sense.

oh and I don't give to the school I where got my MS (huge D-I school with well-known football program), they get plenty of alumni support :)

Would you be more likely to give if there was something tangible you received in return such as scholarship named after your/your family and the opportunity to meet and mentor the students, or perhaps a named classroom/building/ bench/ fountain etc..?

If your alma mater worked at having a meaningful relationship with you post graduation that wasn't solely based on your donations would this have an impact on your desire to give? I,e- invitations to exclusive alumni events, occasional free tickets to games and musical performances, invitations to come back and speak with classrooms about your experience in your field, taking you out to lunch/ coffee to hear your input on current university initiatives and your experience while at the school.
Would love to hear any perspective on this as well.

To me, these suggestions are poor returns on investment and blatantly reduce the amount of money directed at the intended source.  Some of the suggestions are also drawing on the egotistical personality types - I'm not a big fan of people who need to be the centre-of-attention to validate themselves.  Accepting there are plenty of people who would be drawn in by these tactics, I don't know how many MMM readers would.   

Some of the other things you mention - speaking to classrooms on field experience are much better suggestions.   They are an offer of your free time and experience - which I believe are much better direction of resources.

agreed!!! I hate when anywhere tries to give me something for donating.

I would love to do the "come back and talk about your experience in your field" thing, I remember alumni doing this in my department and it was very helpful. plus I would love to catch up with my old professors, because they are pretty awesome. sadly I live 10 hours away and when I'm back in the area the scheduling doesn't work out... maybe one day!

ShortinSeattle (and others), taking out loans doesn't mean you weren't supported by alumni donations.  The tuition price of the school does not reflect the full price of educating a student.  For instance, if the tuition is $18,000 per year (just pulling a number out of a hat), the real cost of educating that student may well be $25,000 per year or $36,000.  Those extra thousands are covered by grants and donations.

And public funds.   Unless you went to some ridiculous private school.

oooh, burn ;P