The government’s Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has published a white paper entitled “The future of higher education”. It contains a whole chapter addressing funding and fundraising.
Chapter seven of the white paper is entitled “Freedoms and funding.” It argues that “to be really successful, universities must be free to take responsibility for their own strategic and financial future” in addition to government support. It makes a number of proposals in this regard.
The DfES is particularly keen to ensure universities’ longer term financial security so “will support institutions to build endowments in a range of ways.” To assist this it proposes “to create a matched fund for endowment” to which any university could apply. It compares the current endowment funds of Harvard (about $18 billion), Yale ($11 billion) and Princeton ($8 billion) with Oxford University’s endowment of about £2 billion.
The department wants to encourage public support for universities so proposes to set up “a task force to promote corporate as well as individual giving… We need to ensure that we have a culture in which donors and all our institutions, including those with no history of incentivising donations, make the most of the potential of
endowment.” It is not stated whether this promotion will be in partnership with existing initiatives such as The Giving Campaign.
Such promotion will include making the benefits of giving clearer to alumni. The paper focuses on Gift Aid, and specifically proposes to “encourage the sector to develop a standard gift aid form for giving.”
Addressing corporate giving, the department proposes to “set up a task force to encourage institutions and potential donors to promote the existing incentives for individual and corporate donation and to encourage change in
university and individual behaviour.” This task force would consist of “corporate donors, financial and fundraising experts, from the public, private and voluntary sectors, and the HE sector itself, as well as other key opinion formers.” Looking beyond donations, the task force “would also look at other entrepreneurial activity and how that could be developed.”
The department recognises that greater professionalisation in fundraising will also be key to universities’ future funding. “The professionalisation of fundraising activities can also be a driver for good financial management,” says the white paper. The department does not, however, specify how it might support this greater professionalisation.
Another proposal in the white paper is for streamlining higher education funding. The department reports that, in response to The Better Regulation Task Force’s report on bureaucracy in higher education in summer 2002, it will propose that funding is consolidated into “a smaller number of funding streams.”
The white paper covers strategy for Higher Education in England. It includes some issues which are ‘reserved’ matters for the UK parliament: these are flagged up. These will also affect Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The DfES is seeking feedback on the white paper from those who provide higher education and those who benefit from it. Feedback is welcomed before 30 April 2003.
The quotes above are taken from “The future of higher education” is © Crown Copyright 2003.
You can download the 110-page document at no charge from the Department for Education and Skills in Adobe Acrobat format (PDF).
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