The University has received less and less of its funding from the state in recent years — a reality made especially clear today.
Wednesday is Tag Day: the day on which UNC would have to shut down without private gifts.
By the numbers:
17 percent of University revenue came from private gifts in 2011
21.8 percent of alumni donated money in 2011
47 percent of seniors who donated to the 2011 senior campaign
$20.12 recommended donation amount for seniors to the 2012 campaign
It highlights the 17 percent of UNC’s 2011 revenue that came from private gifts, private grants and investment income.
It also marks the beginning of the final 17 percent of days in the 2011-12 academic year.
In 2011, 21.8 percent of alumni donated money, said Bianca Bell, director of student giving for the Carolina Annual Fund.
“It isn’t the amount that they give,” Bell said. “It’s the habit of being able to give back every year.”
Bell said the fund understands that some students cannot make large-scale donations.
“In terms of the tuition hikes, we understand that things are tight,” she said. “We try to convey that by giving a dollar, you can keep that many more of your friends at the University.”
Maura Mayorga, a senior biology major, said higher tuition has begun to weigh on students’ financial priorities.
“It’s a good idea but you have to consider that students have to balance their finances,” she said. “We have to wait and see if it will be successful. I think students would want to donate, the question is how much will they be able to.”
Eric Bost, a member of UNC’s chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, said Tag Day demonstrates how UNC is receiving inadequate state and federal funding and therefore has resorted to private gifts.
“We rely more and more on private gifts, which shouldn’t be the case for a public university,” Bost said.
The General Assembly has cut more than $1 billion from the UNC system’s budget over the past five years.
Bell said the Carolina Annual Fund is trying to teach students about their power as donors, whether they give $1 or $20.12 — the recommended donation for graduating seniors.
She said Tag Day, which started in 2009, won’t be a presentation but more of a presence on campus.
The Fund, along with the Heelraisers Council and senior marshals, will put “tags” in front of some of the largest privately funded buildings on campus, in addition to holding activities, giveaways and raffles in the Pit.
Rebecca Bramlett, director of annual giving, said current UNC students gave more than $96,000 to the University last year.
Senior marshals aim to beat last year’s record senior participation of 47 percent of the class of 2011.
“Senior marshals have always had a commitment toward Tag Day and private giving,” said senior Courtney Lee, chairwoman for the senior campaign.
Sophomore Sean Langberg said while he thinks Tag Day is a good initiative, money still needs to come from somewhere other than student pockets.
“Pressure needs to be put on state legislature to restore state funding we’ve lost, so we don’t have to rely on those private funds.”
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