The government is to provide up to £7.5 million over the next three years to match individual and corporate gifts to English universities.
The government says that the matched funding scheme has been introduced “to help English institutions build their capacity to raise income”.
It is likely that some of the government funding will be used to build up fundraising or development departments at universities, in order to diversify income sources and grow income. Indeed, Professor Eric Thomas, vice-chancellor of Bristol University, told FT.com that the new funds should be used to build up professional fundraising offices. Professor Thomas had previously published a report which claimed that, without government matched funding, universities were missing out on around £600m a year.
The funding announcement followed the publication of research by educational charity The Sutton Trust which found that in the USA matched-funding schemes for universities gave a return on public funding of 300%. The trusts’s chairman Sir Peter Lampl said: “There is the potential to raise millions of pounds for UK universities if the government provided matched funding.”