UMass system sees record-breaking endowment

By Patrick Johnston

(Collegian File Photo)
(Collegian File Photo)

The University of Massachusetts five-campus system has seen a 12 percent increase in funding this fiscal year, resulting in a record-breaking endowment of $757 million, according to a UMass press release. More than $45 million of this sum has gone to the Amherst campus.

The increase was driven by both state funding and private donations. According to the release, a system-wide capital campaign with the goal of raising $800 million over the next seven years is now underway.

In the release, UMass President Robert Caret described this as a “transformational moment” in the history of the system.

According to Ann Scales, spokesperson for the UMass president’s office, “(This ‘transformational moment’) refers to the dramatic increase in fundraising, in student enrollment and in state financial support to the University.”

In terms of where the funding is going, Scales said, “Private fundraising is a major source of funding for student scholarships and allows us to endow chairs and attract and retain top faculty members.”

She went on to explain that some donors target specific programs while others give money to priorities designated by the campuses, which according to Scales, could include projects such as construction and renovations to campus facilities.

Scales also said private donations have been especially beneficial in the face of the University’s record-breaking enrollment this year.
“The growing enrollment at UMass means more students will need scholarships and grants to help pay for their education, which is an additional benefit (of) private fundraising,” she said.

The UMass system, in addition to monetary gain, has seen a massive increase in first-time donors, with more than 20,000 contributing this year. Scales said this rise is the result of an increased focus on private fundraising.

In terms of state funding, Scales said, “The (increase) … is a result of President Caret’s 50-50 plan, which the legislature adopted. The plan called for a two-year, $100 million increase in state funding for UMass, in exchange for (the University) freezing tuition and mandatory fees for two years.”

According to a January press release, Gov. Deval Patrick called for more state funding for public education in Massachusetts, increasing support for Caret’s plan.

“Gov. Patrick is seeking to provide opportunity for all of our citizens and to ensure that Massachusetts will remain successful in the global knowledge-based economy,” Caret said in the release.

Patrick Johnston can be reached at [email protected]