The real cost of one year at Bucknell is about 23 percent more than the comprehensive fee that is charged to students. Bucknell must provide an additional $10,000 per student each year to make up the difference. Annual gifts and funds from the University endowment help bridge this gap.
Net tuition, room and board, and fees (i.e., not including the University's distribution of $51 million in financial aid to students) comprised about 72 percent of our operating budget for fiscal year 2015. The rest came from endowment income (17 percent), gift revenue (6 percent), research grants (2 percent) and other sources (3 percent). So endowment and gift revenue are essential to Bucknell and to the experience our students have here.
We also are determined to hold the line on significant tuition increases, and to the best of our ability will not increase our comprehensive fee above inflation. As a result, gifts from donors will become even more important to our future because of the critical margin of difference they provide in our ability to recruit and retain outstanding students and faculty, develop and support great ideas for programs, and improve the quality of our facilities, grounds and technologies.
All gifts help the University's programs. The best example is the Annual Fund, which is made up of gifts that donors want put to immediate use. We typically raise more than $12 million every year through the Annual Fund, and more than 80 percent of Annual Fund gifts are less than $500. During this campaign we want to increase Annual Fund giving to $14 million annually.
Annual giving impacts virtually every program at Bucknell. For example, it provides miter saws to build theatre sets, video cameras for sports-performance analysis, bus transportation for students to attend career fairs, and scholarly databases and computers for use in the library. Put simply: every student, every day, benefits from the Annual Fund.
The Annual Fund also has a transformative effect on donors. More often than not, the alumni, parents and friends who make large single gifts to Bucknell became donors first by supporting the Annual Fund — and continue to make annual gifts. So the Annual Fund is important for today and for the future. Through the Annual Fund, everyone in the Bucknell community can play an important part in the life of the University and its students.
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