That’s not a bad haul considering the state of the economy. Then again, Americans are the most generous people in the world.

Ry Rivard of Inside Higher Ed reports.

Deeper Pockets

Donors gave about $34 billion to North American colleges in 2013, according to an annual survey by the Council for Aid to Education.

That’s more than $3 billion more than the year before, and the most ever raised in a single year — topping the $31.6 billion from pre-recession 2008, not adjusted for inflation.

The 9 percent increase in overall donations coincided with an upswing in financial markets that encouraged the giving and increased the value of gifts that came in the form of stocks.

The same bull markets also fueled higher investment returns for endowment funds, according to another recent survey.

The Council for Aid to Education’s Voluntary Support of Education survey, which is being released today, found colleges in the United States and Canada raised $33.8 billion in the last fiscal year. About 17 percent of that money went to just 10 colleges, though – all of them wealthy American institutions. (See table at bottom.) Still, 59 percent of the more than 900 institutions that responded to the survey reported more philanthropic support in 2013 than in 2012.

The largest increase in giving came from alumni, who gave $9 billion total, a 17 percent increase from 2012. Of those donations, a significant chunk were earmarked for capital projects.

“While giving was up across the board, it was up more for capital purposes, and these tend to be major gifts,” said Ann Kaplan, the survey’s director.