Giving to Education

Giving to education includes all cash and non-cash donations from itemizing and non-itemizing American 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.

According to the baseline projection alone, giving to education would have increased in 2018 and 2019. The exceptional circumstances created by tax policy changes have complicated this picture. Click here for a more detailed analysis.

Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence education giving in 2018 and 2019 include:

  • Average to above-average growth in GDP,
  • Above-average growth in consumer expenditures on education services in the preceding year, and
  • Growth in consumer expenditures on health.68

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

Projected above-average growth in the S&P 500, and close-to-average growth in consumer spending on health in the preceding year will also have a positive effect on giving to education in 2018 and 2019. However, close-to-average growth in consumption and consumer expenditures on healthcare services will temper these positive effects.

Major gifts to higher education are projected to continue in 2018 and 2019, and will impact giving to this subsector.69 Since institutions of higher education encompass such a wide range of services and activities, donors can make gifts that reflect their unique interests and priorities. Major gifts to higher education institutions have established everything from health research centers to libraries to new scholarships in recent years.

The billion-dollar campaigns launched by institutions of higher education in recent years are also likely to continue into 2018 and 2019 and will boost overall education giving.70 Research has shown that, as with giving to other subsectors, the presence of fundraising campaigns and opportunities to give has a positive correlation with education giving.71

Research also shows that foundations have increased giving to both K-12 and higher education institutions in recent years.72 It is likely that giving to education will continue to benefit from giving by individuals, as well as foundations and corporations, in 2018 and 2019.