The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

“Tuition Runs Out Day” signals shift to donations funding budgets

Signs around campus last week advertised for “Tuition Runs Out Day,” sponsored by University Advancement. Unfortunately for students, those signs were not signaling it was time to do away with tuition bills, but rather that the collective amount paid by students has now run out and the university is operating on donations and gifts from alumni.

The out-of-pocket cost – the cost borne by students – to attend the university covers only 62 percent of the university’s budget. Last year the university received $215.7 million in revenue from tuition and fees after scholarships. The total university operating budget for the year was $355.4 million. The projected numbers for 2012 are similar with a total operating budget of $363.7 million and net tuition revenues of $215.7 million.

Filling most of that gap is alumni and donor support. Last year, nearly 27,000 individuals made gifts to the university, totaling more than $54 million. That alumni and donor support accounts for 19 percent of the operating budget.

A portion of that alumni and donor support also funds scholarships granted by the university. In 2011, Marquette gave $91 million in scholarships to students, $16 million of which was funded by alumni and donor support. The other $75 million in tuition discounts was unfunded and came out of the capital budget. Furthermore, in 2011, 96 percent of students received some form of aid from the university.

The University Advancement held Tuition Runs Out Day to spread awareness of the university’s financial situation. The office picked a day about 62 percent of the way through the school year to further emphasize the time when tuition stops funding the university.

Michael Kelly, an advancement officer in University Advancement, said Tuition Runs Out Day was made to educate students about the finances of the university and to get students talking.

The main event was a table in the Alumni Memorial Union for students to write thank-you cards to Marquette donors for their support. Kelly said that 508 students wrote a thank you card.

“It was more than we anticipated,” Kelly said. He said the university has not decided how the thank-you cards will be distributed.

“They will most likely go to first-time donors,” Kelly said. “We want them to know how much we appreciate their gift.”

Kelly said that of the 27,000 donors last year, 1,500 were first-time donors.

“We really rely on alumni to be the difference in making up the gap between tuition and the budget,” Kelly said.

Kelly said Tuition Runs Out Day is part of the Marquette Nation program. Marquette Nation is a comprehensive program designed to bring students and alumni together to continue Marquette’s traditions, establish class unity, raise money for study scholarships and keep students engaged with the university after graduation.

He said many universities across the country are holding similar events to explain their financial situations.

Students were glad to have the opportunity to thank Marquette donors.

Cristina Espinoza, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, wrote a thank-you card at the event and receives an Ignatius scholarship.

“It takes a lot to run a school,” Espinoza said. “Tuition is expensive but (Marquette) does a lot.”

Espinoza said she did not know the school relied on resources besides tuition to fund the university.

“If it weren’t for donations, we wouldn’t be able to do all the things (Marquette) does,” Espinoza said.

Even students who didn’t write a thank you card are grateful for the help from donors.

Michael Kann, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said he thinks it is important to thank donors.

“(My scholarship) is definitely how I was able to come to Marquette,” Kann said.

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