Re-posted with permission from the Round Table; the article originally appeared in the March 26 edition of the paper, Volume 202, Issue 7.
Tuition Isn’t Enough: “Tuition Runs Out Day”
By Danica Slavish’12
Ever wonder where your tuition is going? Think the thousands of dollars you pay is enough to cover the costs of making Beloit’s magic happen? Think again.
Organized by Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, Mark Spreitzer’09 and a committee of students (full disclosure: I’m on the committee), “Tuition Runs Out Day” makes a debut on campus this Wednesday, March 28. The day was created to help students think about the importance of alumni giving and to show that tuition only goes so far to keep Beloit College up and running.
Between paying salaries, operations, facility maintenance, and debt service, it took $37.8 million to run Beloit College last year. And that’s a conservative figure, because it does not count the millions of financial aid dollars the college doled out. Paid tuition, room, and board contributed $32.4 million to the revenue, while alumni donations and interest earnings from the endowment covered the other $5.3 million. So, like most years, donations to Beloit College comprised 12-15 percent of the college’s annual budget. Without such donations, students would see cuts to programming and financial aid. Guess it’s not so easy to repaint Commons and redo those awkward Science Center steps after all.
Grant-making foundations often place great emphasis on Beloit’s “participation rate,” or the number of alumni donors divided by the number of alumni. According to Spreitzer, “Grant-makers are not sure whether we’re doing a good job at Beloit compared to other schools, so they look to see how many alumni donated last year as a proxy for whether Beloiters liked their experience enough to make it available to today’s students.”
Colleges rankings, like the one published by U.S. News and World Report, also look at the number. As Spreitzer emphasizes, it’s not the amount you give, but rather, that you give something consistently, even if that’s just $10 every year.
It’s not our turn to give yet, but you can stop by Commons or DK’s at meal times on Wednesday (March 28) to sign a thank you postcard to an alum who has recently given to Beloit. On Monday, class agent Tammy Fouche'10 spoke about what it means to be an alumni donor. Posters around campus break down the finances here at Beloit to see where your money--and money from alumni--is going. And finally, make sure you personally thank an alum for all they’ve done to make your Beloit College experience happen. Keep in mind: before you know it, you’ll be one too.