Peking University, China's most prestigious institute of higher learning, has launched a fundraising campaign to help it achieve its long-term development goals.
In a statement posted on its website last week, the university said it will soon set up a development committee and each faculty will be responsible for raising funds.
Min Weifang, Party secretary of the university and chairman of the Peking University Education Foundation, had proposed at an earlier meeting that such a committee, as well as secondary working teams, be set up to integrate resources from multiple fundraising channels, the statement said.
Yan Min, an official with the financial department, said the university had been facing financial difficulties for several years and these had been worsened by the economic downturn.
Like other universities affiliated to the Ministry of Education, Peking University is largely funded by the government.
To get additional funds, the university established an education foundation in 1995 to accept and manage donations for expansion, teaching, research and student awards.
Xia Jiechang, an economics professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily last week that despite the government funds, the university needed more money to achieve its goal to become a world-class seat of learning.
"The funding falls far short of meeting the demands of the university," he said.
"It was inevitable that universities would resort to raising funds through other channels. In recent years, several universities have adopted American-style fundraising campaigns, attracting money from their alumni, local businesses and other sources," he said.
"Compared with top American universities that have hundreds of development staff and run regular campaigns, Chinese ones have only recently started asking for money, therefore they need to form an effective mechanism," Xia said.
Fundraising is not new to Peking University, however. In 2003, it launched dozens of campaigns, including one in the United States, to raise money for an anti-SARS fund for hospitals attached to it.
Other top-tier universities have also launched fundraising campaigns.
Shanghai's Fudan University raised more than 300 million yuan ($43 million) three years ago to mark its 100th anniversary.
The majority of the contributions came from business tycoons like Fok Ying-tung and Tsang Hing-chi.