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The Council for Aid to Education says charitable giving to American colleges and universities reached a new high of $37.45 billion last year. And Northwestern University came in fourth on the fundraising list issued today.

Across the nation giving to higher education grew 10.8 percent last year — the largest percentage increase since 2000.

The top five schools on the list were:

  • Harvard University at $1.16 billion.
  • Stanford University at $928 million.
  • Univeristy of Southern California at $732 million.
  • Northwestern University at $616 million.
  • Johns Hopkins University at $615 million.

The only other Illinois school in the top 20 was the University of Chicago at $405 million.

The survey covers the 2013-14 academic year, which saw sharp gains in the stock market that tended to boost the amounts donors were willing to give.

One funderaising consultant told the Chronicle of Higher Education that the increase is driven by “a huge explosion of wealth” among the very rich, while the percentage of alumni contributing to schools declined, from 8.7 percent in 2013 to 8.3 percent last year.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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