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University of Michigan campus. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The University of Michigan raised $5 billion in private funding over 5 years through a campaign to further finance the university, writes Douglas Belkin of The Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: Michigan's ability to raise billions of dollars from donors' private funds highlights an imbalance in the playing field for most universities. Only private universities and big-name public schools have the funds available to employ this strategy. Smaller, regional public schools tend to be left behind.

By the numbers

The country's flagship universities benefit the most from donors. Most of the money comes from a few wealthy donors with the top 1% of donors giving 79% of funds to universities in 2015. That number was just 64% in 2006.

  • The concentration of donor wealth is similar to the concentration of the recipients, Belkin writes.
  • "You have public research universities launching multibillion-dollar campaigns and in the same state you’ll have small schools that have never had a fundraising campaign," Dr. Kevin McClure, an assistant professor on higher education at UNC, told Belkin.

This isn't a new phenomenon, Belkin writes. "Fundraising was baked into the business model of most private colleges and universities more than a century ago," but after the recession.

Michigan continues a trend that developed over the last few decades with universities reaching into the pockets of their alumni and they aren't the only school that has adopted this strategy.

Be smart: The only options for struggling universities are to either raise tuition or wait on state funding to save them, but public education funding hasn't been raised in years.

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Google's parent shuts down effort to deliver internet via balloons

Image: Loon

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, one of its "moonshots," which aimed to deliver internet service via high-altitude balloons.

Why it matters: The effort was one of several approaches designed to get high-speed connectivity to some of the world's most remote spots and proved useful in the aftermath of disasters that shut down traditional infrastructure.

Dave Lawler, author of World
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What has and hasn't changed as Biden takes over U.S. foreign policy

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden swiftly recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate pact and the World Health Organization, but America's broader foreign policy is in a state of flux between the Trump and Biden eras.

Driving the news: One of the most striking moves from the Biden administration thus far was a show of continuity — concurring with the Trump administration's last-minute determination that China had committed "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead — Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: NYC postpones vaccine appointments following shipment delays — Private companies step in to fill vaccine logistics vacuum.
  4. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.