Recently, Stanford University announced that it raised over $1 billion in charitable gifts, becoming the first college to collect that amount in a single year.  That amounts to nearly $143,000 for each of its 7,000 undergraduates.

Of course, Stanford isn’t alone in their success.  Harvard, Yale, USC and Columbia all raised in excess of $500 million this past year.  It seems that college alumni are extremely generous to their institutions of higher education.

This raises an interesting question?  How much is enough?  Stanford’s $1 billion now brings their total endowment to over $17 billion.  $17 billion kicks off $680 million in interest each year (at a 4% draw).  With tuition at $42,000 a year, Stanford could effectively provide tuition free education to each of its 7,000 students each year forever, without ever depleting their corpus.  Yet, they continue to seek charitable gifts.

With charitable dollars going to institutions with already fat endowments, you wonder what other social problems could be solved if more donors were aware of Stanford’s good fortune.