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Central Hall | Col­legian

The class of 2017 claims 45 percent par­tic­i­pation in alumni dona­tions this year, the highest per­centage from a recently grad­uated class to date.

More than 2,000 alumni donated $5.2 million to Hillsdale College from July 2016 to June 2017.

The officers of the class chose to partner with the 1844 Society by donating to the Ransom Dunn Schol­arship Fund, according Colleen McGinness, director of strategic part­nership and student giving, in an email. Four seniors from the class of 2017 received this schol­arship, thanks to dona­tions from the class of 2016, and three current seniors are now receiving monies donated from the class of 2017.

“The money doesn’t just got to a Central Hall-shaped piggy bank,” McGinness said. “It actually goes to an imme­diate cause — schol­ar­ships that help current stu­dents.”

According to the President’s Report for the 2016 — 2017 year, the cost of pro­viding an edu­cation for one student at Hillsdale College is $72,000 per year, a cost already cut in half because of the donors. In addition, nearly all stu­dents — 98 percent — receive addi­tional financial aid.

The average college or uni­versity receives one-third of its total funding from the gov­ernment. Because Hillsdale College does not accept any gov­ernment funding, including gov­ernment loans or the GI Bill, donors are the biggest source of funding. The mar­keting department targets three types of people for schol­arship dona­tions: “fans and friends” of the college, alumni, and current stu­dents. Friends of the college, people not affil­iated with the college directly, donate the most: 88 percent of total schol­arship dona­tions.

The 1844 Society cur­rently uses Give Campus, a website for stu­dents to donate online.

One 2017 alumna, Anna Goodwin, said she donated to the schol­arship fund over Venmo.

Junior and 1844 Society Pres­ident Shelby Bar­gen­quast joined the society as a sophomore and said she believes in the impor­tance of giving back to the school in a manner that impacts current stu­dents.

“Some stu­dents can’t come back due to unforeseen financial cir­cum­stances,” Bar­gen­quast said. “Being able to help means a lot, and I find it rewarding to give back.”

The 1844 Society’s three-pronged mission statement empha­sizes the impor­tance of grat­itude, stew­ardship, and service, and the Society encourages stu­dents and alumni to donate both to the Ransom Dunn Schol­arship and to various other pro­grams, including the current cam­paign for ath­letic schol­ar­ships.

Last year’s 1844 Society members, which included stu­dents from the classes of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, donated a total of $23,859 and have pledged another $68,000 in dona­tions to schol­arship pro­grams. This was raised by the semes­terly dues of $18.44, as well as the promise to donate $184.44 within three years of grad­u­ating from the college.

“There is a dif­ference with our alumni,” McGinness said. “You can’t force this type of grat­itude.”