In a few months, the University will end its largest fundraising effort to date, the Light the World campaign, with its fundraising goal of $1.5 billion. The money that comes in from the campaign, which began in 2008, will be dispersed to several different campus needs: academic excellence, undergraduate financial aid, Jesuit, Catholic heritage and student formation, intercollegiate and intramural athletics, campus facilities, and annual giving.
This campaign represents a remarkable success for Boston College. The University’s first campaign, in 1921, raised $1.7 million. Ninety-four years later, the University has reached a point where it can reasonably request—and even accomplish before its intended completion date—over a billion dollars from its donor base. In the same span of time, BC has jumped from being a regionally-known commuter school for Irish Catholics to a nationally recognized University with highly ranked academic programs.
As this fundraising era concludes and the University reexamines its fundraising priorities, the state of financial aid at BC should be a continued area of focus. To keep true to its mission, BC should sustain efforts to increase affordability for working class families—limiting tuition costs while aspiring to match the low average annual net prices found at the area’s most well endowed universities, such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
BC already does well in return on interest when looking at students receiving federal financial aid, according to the federally released College Scorecard, but it would be good to see tuition for this institution made more affordable for students across the board. Strengthened financial aid packages would make BC a more viable option for those that simply cannot take on the monetary burden, but also simultaneously struggle receiving funding from the government.
Having secured so much funding before its target completion date, the University deserves an immense amount of credit. The success of the Light the World campaign speaks both to the generosity of BC donors and the faithfulness of University faculty to BC’s mission. The challenge is now to convert the energy of Light the World into a sustained effort to make BC an increasingly diverse, affordable, and equitable institution.
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