10 Colleges Where Most Alumni Give Back

Delece Smith-Barrow

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If alumni donors are any measure of school satisfaction, graduates of Thomas Aquinas College are especially happy with their experience.

At the California college, an average of 63.7 percent of alumni donated in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years. The college's recent increase in alumni donors -- only 58.9 percent of alumni donated in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 -- made it top the list of schools with the highest percentage of alumni donors.

The high proportion of graduates who give back at these schools comes at a time when the broader percentage of alumni donors and the amount they give have declined, according to a 2012 survey by the Council for Aid to Education. Several liberal arts institutions, however, seemed to buck this trend.

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Nine liberal arts schools are among those with the highest proportion of alumni donors, averaged over a two-year period, according to data reported by 1,207 ranked institutions in an annual U.S. News survey. At Amherst College 56.4 percent of alumni donated, and 51.8 percent donated at Centre College, the lone southern school to make the list.

The only National University that broke into the top 10 is Princeton University, which came in second. On average, just over 62 percent of graduates of the New Jersey school donated in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years. It's also the largest school on the list, with an undergraduate enrollment of 5,336 for fall 2012. Thomas Aquinas is the smallest: 370 undergraduates were enrolled at the school.

New to the list this year is Bates College, where 51.9 percent of alumni donated in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.

Of the 1,207 schools that submitted data to U.S. News, the two-year average percentage of alumni donors is 12.8. The average for the top 10 schools is 55.9 percent.

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Below is a list of the 10 colleges and universities with the highest two-year average percentage of alumni donors. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School name (state) Average percentage of alumni who donate U.S. News rank and category
Thomas Aquinas College (CA) 63.7 61, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Princeton University (NJ) 62.4 1, National Universities
Williams College (MA) 58.3 1, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Carleton College (MN) 56.6 7, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Amherst College (MA) 56.4 2, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Middlebury College (VT) 53.7 4, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Bowdoin College (ME) 52.3 4, National Liberal Arts Colleges
College of the Holy Cross (MA) 52 25, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Bates College (ME) 51.9 22, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Centre College (KY) 51.8 49, National Liberal Arts Colleges

Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find data on alumni donors, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed nearly 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2013 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The alumni donor data above are correct as of Sept. 26, 2013.