Brilliant Futures campaign raises money for scholarships

By Andy Kwalwaser

More than $300 million from a University fundraising campaign will be set aside for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, the Office of the Chancellor announced over the summer.

The office also announced how that money will be distributed between scholarships and fellowships.

“There is renewed interest in guaranteeing support for students through scholarships,” said Jim Schroeder, vice chancellor for institutional advancement.

The Brilliant Futures campaign, now in its fifth year, has collected $1 billion of a projected $1.5 billion in donations. The tuition allotment includes $175 million for scholarships and $135 million for fellowships. The bulk of the remaining money will go toward salaries, research and facilities.

Donors have a degree of control over scholarship gifts. Some let the University distribute the money as needed, but in the past other donors have requested the creation of new scholarships with particular criteria.

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“It will help us fund existing programs, but in some cases, the request goes toward a new scholarship,” he said.

Alumni donations will have a significant effect on scholarship funds, Schroeder said.

“Donors may not be making gifts at the same level,” Schroeder said.

Large-scale fundraising campaigns are common among Big Ten schools. Purdue University completed a $1.5 billion campaign last year, and Indiana University is in the midst of a scholarship campaign.

Public universities have placed more emphasis on aggressive fundraising in recent years, said Don Kojich, associate vice president for marketing and communications at the University of Illinois Foundation.

“In public education, with the decreasing state dollars institutions are receiving, we have to find ways to keep education at a certain level,” Kojich said. “If you are not in a campaign, you’re planning for one, or have just finished one.’

The campaign will end in December 2011.