The number of people giving to UK universities and colleges rose by a quarter over two years, while the value of donations and pledges was up by 9 per cent over one year, new research indicates.
A survey of 172 further and higher education institutions in the UK showed that 185,603 people and organisations donated to UK universities and colleges in the 2009/10 academic year, compared with 148,103 in 2007/08.
New funds secured by the institutions that responded to the poll totalled £600m in 2009/10, compared with £548m in 2008/09, the figures show.
However, the cash value of actual donations received fell from £526m in 2008/09 to £506m in 2009/10.
The annual survey was carried out by the National Centre for Social Research on behalf of the professional association the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Ross Group, a network of university fundraising professionals.
The research shows that the number of former students that gave to their universities or colleges rose, with more than 147,000 people making donations in 2009/10, an increase of 10 per cent on 2008/09.
Joanna Motion, vice-president for international operations at Case, said: "Such a significant increase in the number of people and organisations giving to universities reveals the early signs of a culture-shift towards higher education philanthropy.
"The continued professionalisation of university fundraising, combined with the impact that donors can see from their donations, are making a real difference."
Cathy Pharoah, co-director of the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, said: "It does not surprise me, because universities are becoming more active fundraisers and they can attract money that might have gone to other charities. It’s part of the increasing competitive environment for philanthropy in the charity sector."