Charitable contributions to colleges and universities plummeted an average 11.9 percent nationwide in 2009, the steepest drop in at least three decades, reports the Associated Press. Individual giving dropped in both dollars and participation numbers, and gifts for endowments and new buildings saw the biggest decreases, according to the Council for Aid to Education, which released its 2009 fiscal report on Feb. 3. Donation declines piled on top of endowment drops averaging 22 percent, plus state budget cuts for public colleges. "We knew that this was going to be a bad year," said Ann E. Kaplan, director of the survey....

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    staff and wire services reports