Speaking before the Michigan Student Assembly at the body’s weekly meeting last night, the University’s vice president of development hinted that the University might break a national fundraising record among public schools Friday.

Jerry May spoke to the assembly for nearly a half hour about the Michigan Difference, which launched in 2004 and has raised nearly $3 billion since. The campaign’s original goal was $2.5 billion.

He also said the fundraising campaign is on the brink of surpassing the national record for public school fundraisers, which is currently held by the University of California at Los Angeles at $3.06 billion. May said the University’s official total is $2.99 billion, but that a new number would be released Friday at Hill Auditorium when administrators celebrate at the Campaign Finale Convocation from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

“It’s going to be exciting,” said May, who encouraged the assembly to attend the event. “You might actually remember it when you’re my age.”

The University raised $342 million last year in the campaign — more than the $300 million or so that it received in state funding.

“Unfortunately, even though it seems like your tuition is exorbitant, it doesn’t pay the cost of your education,” he said. “Even though $300 million from the state sounds like a lot of money, it still pays for only about 22 percent of the total cost of education.”

May said about 75 percent of the money raised in the Michigan Difference campaign came from individuals. “This includes “people that love football and Michigan athletics,” people who have benefited from the University’s Health System and people who “love the arts and culture of this institution.”

The alumni, which comprised the majority of the individuals who gave, “stayed linked to the University,” May said, because most of them “usually feel really good about their education.”

May said the nation’s struggling economy has had a minimal effect on the campaign, saying that many donors decided to commit to five-year pledges when they gave.

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