Survey of Voluntary Support of Education
The Council for Aid to Education, Inc. (CAE) is a not-for-profit corporation funded by contributions from businesses. CAE largely provides consulting and research services to corporations and information on voluntary support services to education institutions. Each year, CAE conducts a survey of colleges and universities and private elementary and secondary schools to obtain information on the amounts, sources, and purposes of private gifts, grants, and bequests received during the academic year.
The annual Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey consistently captures about 85 percent of the total voluntary support to colleges and universities in the United States. Institutional reports of voluntary support data from the VSE survey are more comprehensive and detailed than the related data in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Finance survey conducted by NCES.
The VSE survey is conducted online. All accredited institutions of higher education are eligible to participate, and about a quarter of these institutions fill out a survey each year. CAE reviews the survey forms for internal consistency, queries institutions whose data appear out of line with national trends or their own historical data, and makes an effort to clean the data before preparing a computerized database of the results.
Individual institutions and several state systems of higher education use the VSE data to monitor and analyze their fundraising results. CAE uses the data to develop national estimates of giving to education and to report in detail on private support of education. The results from the VSE survey are available to subscribers online and are also published in the annual Voluntary Support of Education report, which may be purchased from CAE.
Further information on the VSE survey may be obtained from