An Investigation of the Relationship of Student Engagement to Alumni Giving at an Independent Technological University
Due to periodic decreases in government funding for higher education, higher education institutions have relied increasingly on philanthropic gifts. As a result, private funding, including alumni giving, has increased over the past halfcentury, climbing from $2.1 billion in 1965 to $57.48 billion in 2016 (Giving USA 2016). The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of student engagement to alumni giving at a private technological university. The study examined this relationship using two data sets: National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) from this university’s Office of Institutional Research, and alumni giving data from this university’s Development Office. These data were accessed for undergraduate students who graduated in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011. Consistent with a quantitative approach to the secondary analysis of existing data, data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. For the latter, logistic and multiple regression analyses were used to determine the relationship of three sets of factors (i.e., five NSSE Benchmarks and sets of demographic and experiential factors) to five dependent measures of alumni giving. Logistic regression results indicated that 16 variables, derived from these three sets of factors, accounted for nearly 74% of the variance in donor status. Multiple regression results indicated that selected NSSE Benchmarks, and selected experiential and demographic factors, were related to four measures of alumni giving. Results of regression analysis indicated that the NSSE Benchmarks Supportive Campus Environment (SCE) and Student Faculty Interaction (SFI) were significantly related to alumni giving. Further, two demographic factors, age and ethnicity, had a significant relationship to alumni giving. Lastly, two experiential factors, status as an intercollegiate athlete and residence during the senior year, had a significant relationship to alumni giving., Additional analyses were conducted for alumni with high scores on one or more of the dependent measures due to the exploratory nature of this study and to practical interest in those data. The results of this research study provided further support for student engagement theory and student involvement theory as they relate to alumni giving.