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University of St Andrews contributes to a record £1bn in UK university donations

Wednesday 03 May 2017

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Graduates of the University of St Andrews have raised over £88 million, since the launch of the University’s 600th Anniversary campaign in 2011, to ensure access to education and research continues to define Scotland and its place in the world.

The fundraising success of Scotland’s oldest university is mirrored across the higher education sector in the UK where philanthropic giving to universities has now passed the £1 billion mark for the first time, according to the Ross-CASE Survey published today.

Philanthropic income to UK academic institutions year-on-year surged by 23 per cent across the 110 participating universities in the latest annual survey of higher education giving in the UK.

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With universities facing the most challenging funding environment in decades, the University of St Andrews, its graduates and donors are increasingly motivated by shared values to work together and build a secure legacy for future generations.

Generous donations are already delivering:

  • the newly opened School of Medical and Biological Sciences, which is supporting development of an easy-use tool aimed at helping health workers in low-income countries detect signs of blindness;
  • a breakthrough that could help the fight against antibiotic resistance – the Orbital Diagnostics team at St Andrews having developed a device (the Scattered Light Integrated Collector) to reduce the time taken to test bacteria for resistance;  
  • the Ashworth Legacy Scholarship, which is supporting a postgraduate student who aims to help deliver accurate 3D screening of cancer drugs;
  • research to identify variation in a P. knowlesi gene associated with severe P. knowlesi malaria;
  • a new £10 million marine laboratory planned for the University of St Andrews, which will help cement Scotland’s reputation as a world leader in oceanic research and species protection.

Graduates, some of whom are paying higher fees than ever, now identify themselves as stakeholders in the University’s reputation, guardians of its future, and partners of the fundraising team working to develop sustainable long-term relationships.

Six per cent of St Andrews alumni made a donation last year alone, which is the third highest participation rate for universities in the UK.

Director of Development Robert Fleming said: “Our alumni understand better than anyone the power of education to change lives. The University of St Andrews aims to produce global citizens, and we’re proud to see so many choosing to give back by investing in higher education and its transformative potential.

“Every donation we receive represents not the end of a transaction, but a meaningful moment in a relationship. Our Alumni team has had to grow to support the quality of relationships we now enjoy, and we’re committed to working with our graduates to ensure we’re not only famous for the best student experience, but also for the best donor experience.”

Tricia King, Global Vice-President (CASE), said: “Philanthropic giving is now at the heart of UK university culture. It provides vital funds to enable the nation’s universities to invest in new ground-breaking research that pushes back the boundaries of knowledge, improves social mobility by widening access to degree study, and builds world class facilities.”

Donations are also helping to fund a new Music Centre and the expansion of the Sports Centre with an eight-court sports arena and four-court indoor tennis centre – projects which might otherwise have forced a choice to be made between University development and frontline teaching and research.


Background information

The University of St Andrews’ 600th Anniversary campaign launched in 2011 aimed to secure £100 million to support a range of projects and aspirational new developments integral to the University’s ambition to consolidate its status as a world-class centre for teaching and research.

More than £56.2 million has already been invested in key developments, including a purpose-built Medical and Biological Sciences Building and the transformation of the former Martyrs Kirk into a Postgraduate Research Library and Reading Room. Other monies have been directed towards the provision of scholarships and for advancements in teaching and research.

Today’s report was compiled by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Europe. Other results from the 2015 to 2016 academic year include:

  • total amount gifted from legacies was £104.7 million from 1,179 legacy donors;
  • alumni donors (177,798) consisted of 80 per cent of individual donors (223,256);
  • universities from the ‘Established’ grouping accounted for 32 per cent of new funds secured while those considered to be the elite accounted for 46 per cent of new funds secured;
  • such was the improved investment in some of the ‘Emerging’ universities in fundraising that they have been formed into a new classification, ‘Developing’;
  • 10 per cent increase in total cash income received since 2014 to 2015 (to £838.7 million).

The increase in funds secured comes despite a decrease (0.5 per cent) in the overall number of donors year-on-year, with a significant proportion of the new funds secured from large gifts and pledges.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 467310/2530 or proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.