DANICA SLAVISH, Contributor
Organized by Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Mark Spreitzer’09 and a committee of students, “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. It’s not so easy to repaint Commons and redo those awkward Center for the Sciences 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 stop by Commons or DK’s at meals times on Wednesday to sign a thank you postcard to an alum who has recently given to Beloit. Or come to BSC today at 7 p.m. to hear class agent Tammy Fouche’10 speak about what it means to be an alumni donor. Posters around campus break down the finances here at Beloit to see where your and alumni money 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.