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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.

Go deeper

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley announces run for re-election

Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the longest-serving Senate Republican, announced on Friday that he's running for re-election in 2022.

Why it matters: The GOP is looking to regain control of both chambers of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. Several Republicans had urged the 88-year-old senator to run to avoid another retirement after five incumbent senators said they wouldn't seek re-election.

China deems all cryptocurrency transactions illegal

A person walking past China's central bank in Beijing in August 2007. Photo: Teh Eng Koon/AFP via Getty Images

China's central bank declared on Friday that all cryptocurrencies are illegal, banning crypto-related transactions and cryptocurrency mining, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: China's government is now following through with its goal of cracking down on unofficial virtual currencies, which it has said are a financial, social and national security risk and a contributor to global warming.

Biden's big bet backfires

Two key dealmakers — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) — leave a luncheon in the Capitol yesterday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/L.A. Times via Getty Images

President Biden bit off too much, too fast in trying to ram through what would be the largest social expansion in American history, top Democrats privately say.

Why it matters: At the time Biden proposed it, he had his mind set on a transformational accomplishment that would put him in the pantheon of FDR and JFK.