Last week, seniors received an email from the University asking for donations. These emails come even before the class has graduated. This practice is not uncommon and, in fact, many colleges ask for a “senior gift” when approaching graduation.
However, prevalence does not always equate to sense.
The Foghorn thinks that it is wrong to ask seniors to donate to their institution before they’ve even received their degree.
It is one thing to ask for donations from alumni, but in this instance, the school is asking for funds from people who are currently paying tuition. Right now, students are putting up significant amounts of money to attend this school, and it comes across as inconsiderate to ask them to donate on top of that.
The end of one’s college education can be a financially tumultuous period of one’s life. Most seniors right now don’t have the disposable income to donate to their school, especially when most are in the process of searching for their first full-time job. A lot are also working multiple jobs to support themselves.
This is not about the concept of donating to your school — the Foghorn understands that the school needs contributions. USF is much more reliant on tuition dollars for operating costs than other universities. We understand that the administration is trying to beef up their donations to counter this reliance.
However, the culture of giving should start from the top down, with alumni being asked first, and freshly-graduated seniors asked last.
Alumni should absolutely donate to the school as we appreciate the opportunities USF provides. But an email and a phone call to seniors right before their finals is not the way to accomplish this. The school should hold off on solicitation until its students graduate.
It’s not wrong to ask for donations, but the Foghorn hopes that the school understands how asking for money before we even leave is distasteful.