Tuition Runs Out Day touts importance of private donations to TTU

If not for the donations and gifts of university friends and alumni, Tennessee Tech University would run out of operating funds each year before spring break.

To raise awareness of the importance of private support, TTU’s office of Annual Giving will hold “Tuition Runs Out Day” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday on the South Patio of the Roaden University Center.

“This is our second year to host Tuition Runs Out Day,” said Kristie Phillips, director of Annual and Special Programs. “We think it’s important to help students, faculty and staff understand the difference alumni gifts make to TTU.”

TTU receives about 40 percent of its funding from the state and another 20 percent from student tuition and fees. Money to operate the university would run out at the end of February if those were the only sources of revenue.

In addition to grants, investment income and other funds, TTU receives about $5 million a year from alumni and friends of the university to support scholarships, classroom and building renovations, technology upgrades and other program needs.

“Tuition Runs Out Day” festivities will include games created and built by students. Greek Life and Student Government Association representatives, along with the Student Giving Council, will help with various events.

At the event, each college will have a booth, and student volunteers will explain what private funds support in their college. For example, classroom renovations in Johnson and Clement halls have been funded by about half a million dollars of private donations. The baseball team travelled to Texas Tech for its season opener thanks to a gift from an alumnus. Ray Morris Hall, the Nursing and Health Services Building and the Athletic Performance Center all were made possible through private support.

Since the 2011-12 academic year began, the office of Annual Giving has raised more than $1 million through direct mail, Phonathon and other activities. Most individuals’ donations are between $50 and $100.

“Those one-time gifts may seem small, but they add up,” said Phillips. “A lot of our alumni don’t think they make a difference, but they do. We want to show students while they’re here on campus why it’s important to give back after they graduate.”