Giving to Education

2017 6.3 2018 6.0

Giving to education includes all cash and non-cash donations from itemizing and non-itemizing U.S. households to U.S. education charities, including institutions of higher education, private K-12 schools, vocational schools, libraries, educational research and policy, and many other types of organizations serving educational purposes.

Giving to education is predicted to increase by 6.3% in 2017 and by 6.0% in 2018.*

The current projections for giving to education for the years 2017 and 2018 are higher than the historical 10-year average rate of growth for giving of this type, but lower than the 25-year and 40-year historical annualized averages.26 Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence education giving in 2017 and 2018 include:

  • Above-average growth in GDP,
  • Above-average growth in consumer spending on education services in preceding and projected years,27 and
  • Growth in consumer spending on health.

The above three factors account for the majority of the predicted growth in giving to education in these years.

Projected above-average growth in the S&P 500, growth in nonprofit services in concurrent and prior years, above-average consumer spending on community school services, and growth specifically in individual/household philanthropic giving will also have a positive effect on giving to education in 2017 and 2018.

Reflecting the continued steady growth of education giving are the growing number of billion-dollar campaigns among institutions of higher education in recent years. Research has substantiated that the presence of fundraising campaigns and opportunities to give has a positive correlation with giving—education giving included.28 These billion-dollar campaigns are expected to continue into 2017 and 2018, helping to boost overall education giving.29 Moreover, donations of very large gifts are likely to impact giving to this subsector, mirroring the trend seen in the last several years.30

* All growth rates are based on predictions for giving in inflation-adjusted 2015 dollars using 2016 as the base year. The Philanthropy Outlook projects the growth rates of variables into 2017 and 2018; predicted growth rates are compared with the variables’ historical 10-, 25-, and 40-year annualized means. See Table 1 for these data.