This article focuses on the prioritization of and time spent by public comprehensive university presidents on their fundraising duties. This research is a component of a larger, more comprehensive study completed in 2012 entitled, The American Public Comprehensive University: An Exploratory Study of The President’s Role in Fundraising.

This research is timely since public universities, which educate nearly 80% of all college students in America, are going through a period of great change. They are struggling to balance their budgets as states further reduce higher education appropriations. Specifically, state appropriations for public universities are at their lowest point in 30 years, having declined by about one-third since 1980; and there is no end in sight to this funding dilemma.

Although academic fundraising has occurred for centuries, this new decline in state support for public comprehensive universities has prompted presidents to turn to alumni, friends, corporations, and foundations for private funds with new and increased fundraising efforts to redress lost state appropriations. This alteration in the funding model during the past several years has changed the primary duties of university presidents.