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University of Michigan announces $4 billion fundraising goal

Sarah Kerson
Michigan Radio

That's the largest fundraising goal ever for an American public university, and university officials say $1.7 billion has already been raised during what they call a two-year "silent" phase. Included in that $1.7 billion are several high-profile donations from alumni like Stephen Ross and President Mary Sue Coleman herself.

Financial aid is a top priority for the fund, according to Provost Mary Pollack, who says  $1 billion of the campaign will go towards student support.

"We know that talent exists in students from all economic backgrounds," she said.

President Coleman didn't say whether the fundraising campaign will lower tuition rates. 

"We hope that we'll be able to provide more scholarship support for students who need it," Coleman said. "I think this will make much more need-based aid available."

The University of Michigan has the largest endowment of a public university in the country. But Coleman says the endowment per student is small because of the size of the university.

The Victors for Michigan campaign will incorporate donations from alumni as well as students, faculty and staff.

While the University has recently been the recipient of several big-ticket donations,  Chief Financial Officer Timothy Slottow says the focus will be on donations under $1,000. He says the campaign will help keep the University of Michigan financially stable.

"Financial gifts are an enormous sign of confidence and stability through any volatile environment or market," he said.

The campaign is set to end in 2018.

As part of the university, all donations to Michigan Radio will be counted towards the $4 billion goal -- but listener donations will still go directly to the station's programs.

-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom