Ithaca College’s endowment topped $300 million for the first time ever in 2017, an 11.57 percent increase from the previous year’s total. This increase could have a tangible effect on the campus community.
College endowments are designed with the idea that they can ensure the college can continue on forever. Higher education struggled after the 2008 recession, so to see the college’s endowment rebound and surpass past amounts is reassuring. Because the college’s endowment has increased by so much, it gives weight to the idea that the college will always be open and will give students equal access to education.
Besides the fact that this increase is impressive in itself, it also means a lot in terms of what the college is now capable of. At the college, endowments are used for student financial aid, employee salaries and athletic and academic programs, which means a number of things could happen — all of which ultimately benefit the college community.
A larger endowment gives the college an advantage. It allows the college to invest more in student programs and gives the college the opportunity to pay its faculty and staff more. Increasing both the quality of student programs and the benefits for the faculty and staff means the college has an opportunity to
improve its retention rates across the board. Simply put, whenever the endowment increases, the college has an opportunity to improve the faculty, staff and student experience.
In addition, the women’s basketball team was recently given an endowment of $100,000 by alum Dee Relph ’78. Because of this donation, the team can now rely less on fundraising efforts for tournaments and transportation for away games and focus more on training.
It is one thing to dream of the possibilities for this increase, but it is another to consider how this increase could continue into the future. Alumni donations are one of the main ways the college improves its endowment. Though donations sometimes vary due to events happening on the college campus, they still made up 23.8 percent of the total amount raised by the college in 2017.
The growth in the endowment is an incredible feat for the college; ensuring that the college can continue to grow is the next step forward.