USC earns top marks for fundraising thanks to success of the Campaign for USC

February 6, 2018

For six straight years, the university has placed in the top five nationally among institutions of higher education.

Contact: Eddie North-Hager at (213) 220-1806 or

USC once again ranks among the nation’s top universities in fundraising.

The university closed out 2017 with the fifth-highest total for cash gifts, according to the Council for Aid to Education (CAE). USC has consistently ranked in the top five since 2012, a feat shared by only two other institutions, Harvard and Stanford universities.

“USC’s academic mission and priorities continue to inspire investments in our future,” said Albert R. Checcio, USC’s senior vice president for university advancement. “This impressive level of giving demonstrates that members of the Trojan Family recognize the value of supporting our talented students, outstanding faculty, innovative researchers and dedicated health care providers.”

The CAE report indicates that USC brought in $668 million in cash last year, up slightly from $667 million in 2016 and $653 million in 2015.

USC also has another impressive figure to celebrate — 42 percent of undergraduate alumni gave back to the university last year. It’s the highest rate reported by any major research institution of USC’s size and the best in the Pac-12.

That undergraduate alumni participation rate has climbed from 32 percent at the beginning of the Campaign for USC, an unprecedented fundraising effort to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand its positive impact on the community and world.

When launched in 2011, the campaign had the largest fundraising goal ever announced in higher education — $6 billion. After exceeding its goal nearly 18 months ahead of schedule, the campaign continues to draw unparalleled support for the university’s mission and has been extended through 2021.

To date, USC has raised $6.58 billion in campaign cash and pledges. Supporters have varied connections to the university — including parents, alumni, grateful patients and friends — and more than 364,000 donors have participated in the campaign as of late January.

Funds raised by the campaign support the university’s endowment, major infrastructure and capital projects, and ongoing academic and research programs. Endowment funding is critical to attracting and retaining top faculty members, providing thousands of student scholarships and supporting innovative research. Campaign donors have given more than $373 million for endowed student scholarships and fellowships, endowed more than 100 faculty positions, and funded more than 20 new or newly endowed centers and institutes.

Among the university’s most prominent capital projects in recent years is USC Village, a 15-acre residential and retail development featuring eight new residential colleges that opened with much fanfare last fall. The next major initiative, a $270 million renovation of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum—which will be renamed United Airlines Memorial Coliseum—officially began last week with a groundbreaking ceremony.

Overall giving to higher education topped $43 billion in the United States last year, according to the CAE. The top 20 institutions, accounting for less than 1 percent of the nation’s universities, raised 28 percent of all gifts in 2017.

The CAE report is based on the council’s Voluntary Support of Education survey, recognized as the leading source of data on charitable giving in U.S. higher education. Further information on fundraising and related trends is available in CAE’s press release.