Berry College made an announcement on Friday that reinforces their commitment to college affordability. The Donor Opportunity Fund has been created as a result of a $10 million donation by a longtime supporter. News like this makes it clear that smart, forward-thinking private colleges can find ways to put themselves in an attractive enrollment position. By engaging successful graduates and supporters to support their institutions that ensure the future success of current students is finding it’s voice.
I cannot provide facts and figures on this, but from where I sit, higher education support has made a turn. The past decade was the physical building era. The coming decade will be consumed with affordability. So much energy has been put into facilities and capacity. With that behind for most institutions, time has come to address inequality of college costs and value.
The current decline in funding for state- supported scholarship programs for public institutions is an opportunity for private colleges to level the playing field or at the very least, close the gap. Public funding will recover but at a slower pace than private giving.
What a chance for private higher education to tell their story. There has never been a better time to get attention. Ears are open to alternatives. The cost gap is beginning to close between public and private higher education through programs like Berry. How private institutions respond to this window may well have a positive impact on their future.