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Do You Give Money to Your Alma Mater?

holiday donations

Since almost a third of charitable contributions happen in December, it’s no wonder our mailboxes and inboxes are full of pleas this holiday season. I get it. I’ve served on nonprofit boards in the past, and I know first hand how much end of year donations mean for next year’s funding. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to have the ability to give back to a variety of organizations, but one place I’ve never given a penny to is the universities I’ve attended. Do you give money to your Alma Mater?

I have no issue with either of the higher education institutions that educated me and laid the foundation for my career. My undergraduate work was at Western Kentucky University, a medium sized, state school that is actually in the south central part of Kentucky. Western was kind enough to give me a full ride through college which allowed me to come out of undergrad debt free.

Southern College of Optometry traded a doctorate degree in exchange for $60,000 in student loans. I actually don’t regret borrowing that money, although I probably could have gotten by on less.

Obviously, SCO prepares students pretty well because they have had a zero percent default rate on student loans for the past 18 years. I’d sure hate to be the poor schmuck who breaks the streak!

Why Don’t I Give Back to My Alma Mater?

I don’t really have a reason  not to give to WKU other than it doesn’t seem like the most needy place for the money I have available for charity donations. Western is a Division I school, so they get decent money from athletics, and tuition is high enough that the university doesn’t seem to be in dire straits.

Shameful Confession: I Hold Grudges

I do actually have a reason for not giving money to SCO, and I’ll admit, it’s pretty petty. It all goes back to the days when I was graduating and applying for residency.  I really wanted to stay local, but I applied for residency slots elsewhere as well. I was offered a position in another state but turned it down because the residency director in Memphis told me I was second in line for the spot I thought I wanted.

Their first choice was actually a classmate, and I knew he was going to another school. The job should have been mine, but they ended up offering it to a person who didn’t even submit an application. I took it fairly personally at the time, but now I understand that’s just how things work. However, I feel the director should have been upfront and told me I didn’t have shot. I swore right then and there that I’d never give a penny to SCO.

In hindsight, it was the best thing that could have happened as I ended up taking a residency position with the Indian Health Service. That decision has paid me back in spades many times over, but I still haven’t felt the need to open my wallet for SCO.

Fund a Wing or Send a Kid to College?

I’ve never even been tempted to donate money to a college until I got a recent mailer about the retirement of one of my favorite instructors from optometry school. The college wants to name a wing after him but needs X amount of donations to make it happen. I was all ready to send a check until I got donation requests from the local humane society and my former high school’s scholarship fund.

I can’t do it all, and it seems the local charities have won out yet again. Somehow, I think my alma maters will survive without my support. I can’t say the same for the homeless pets in my hometown. I also can’t forget how helpful scholarship money was my education and in showing me that there is more to life than the town I grew up in.

With donations to local organizations, I know where 100% of my money goes. I’m sure money donated to larger places would be put to good use, but I won’t know the person it helped or if I’m paying for someone to research the sleep cycle of cockroaches.

So while I really hope the school does name a wing after my professor, they will have to do it without my monetary support.

Do you donate money to your alma mater? 

 

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Snipon is owned and run by a small team who love to find deals on a dime along with the best sweepstakes and giveaways out there. We’re always scrolling the internet for the latest offers to share them with our community. Sign up for our weekly newsletter so you don’t miss another freebie!
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