More than 30 percent of Tsinghua alumni gave money to their alma mater in the 2010-2011 academic year, higher than the donation rate of any other Chinese university, according to 2012 data from cuaa.net, an independent Chinese website focusing on alumni affairs.
In terms of total donations over the past 20 years, the report also showed that Peking University, which received 1.2 billion yuan, ranked first, while Tsinghua ranked second with nearly 1.1 billion yuan.
Alumni donations are not only needed to fund projects, but they are also considered an important measure of a university’s quality. US News & World Report, an American magazine that ranks US universities yearly, uses donations as an important criterion in college ranking. According to the magazine, the “percentage of alumni giving serves as a proxy for how satisfied students are with the school”.
Lei Xiangping, a Fudan University graduate, said that he donated 100 yuan to the alumni association last year.
“Although I’m not giving a lot, my donation is based on my income,” the recent graduate said. “For me, it is just the thought that counts.”
Originally from Hunan province, Lei works in Beijing and participates in alumni activities frequently. “I like to play basketball, and the alumni association provides a basketball court for us, which is great.”
While some can only afford to give a little, successful alumni at later stages in their careers can give a lot, such as Wang Jiwu, CEO of China Private Ventures and Tsinghua graduate, who has donated 10.5 million yuan to the university since he graduated in 1999.
“It is like giving money to my family,” Wang said. “I spent my younger years on this campus and still have affection for this place where I met so many friends.”
Alumni donations are a way in which society provides vital support to universities, said Qiao Haishu, a professor from Hunan University, adding that the alumni associations provide benefits in return.
“It will create mutual benefits for universities and alumni,” Qiao said.