in Higher Ed

Taking targeted giving to a whole new level

The City College of San Francisco is giving donors an opportunity to directly impact student lives, by donating to keep sections of canceled courses open.

For $6,000, the City College of San Francisco is offering sponsors a chance to restore one of the hundreds of classes being canceled because of budget cuts.

Even after freezing hiring, cutting student support services, and reducing administrative salaries, the college is facing a $20 million deficit that has forced it to cut or postpone almost 800 courses this year — about 300 in the fall, and 500 in the spring.

There’s no indication that this sort of thing is going to turn into a trend. But perhaps it’ll be a way to allow donors to connect themselves in different ways. I think naming the classes after a particular sponsor might have taken it too far, but they’ve already removed that from the plan.

So in the new version, donors will not get naming rights. In fact, while donors can specify which department they want to support, it will be left to the department, and not the donor, to decide which course to reinstate.

Maybe this is a good idea, but I can’t see it being a sustainable one and a ploy to cut unpopular programs with those that might be more revenue generating.

  1. Ron, very interesting. I’ll be surprised if it works. Donors don’t usually go for funding a ship that’s taken on water. Also, as you infer, donors truly interested in the institution will want it to cut unnecessary expenses, including courses.

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