American colleges and universities reported a 7 percent decrease in the amount of foreign gifts and contributions they received in fiscal year 2017 compared to 2016, a dip triggered in part by Vice President Joe Biden’s time in office, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
In his first year in office, Biden visited 13 universities in his home state of Delaware, a representative from each stated, leading to the holiday season of 2016 and a dip in the total donations and gifts from abroad, according to the Chronicle.
“I was very encouraged by the large gifts that came to my alma mater, the University of Delaware, in connection with the vice president’s visit, and that was before his Senate seat changed hands, after he had expressed interest in staying in the Senate,” said Thomas R. Smith, the university’s president.
Rob Williams, professor of history at the University of Delaware, said the effect Biden’s visits had on students didn’t stop him from being grateful.
“As vice president, the vice president’s visits can be very powerful. They can sometimes create a personal relationship that students experience,” Williams said. “The fact that Biden was passionate about the university was very inspiring to me. It gave me something else to focus on and didn’t completely take away from what I thought was the most important message.”
Rep. Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican, is now skeptical of foreign and state support of U.S. universities and colleges after the Biden bump, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“[Biden] is trying to bring international donors to our campuses by depicting himself as above the federal bureaucracy,” Broun said. “It’s a condescending gesture that is denying the extraordinary contributions that out-of-state donors make to American higher education.”
In FY16, the Chronicle found that colleges and universities received a total of $5.7 billion in foreign gifts and contributions.