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Since its launch in 2006, the Campaign for Students has raised $160 million out of the targeted $500 million over five years.

The $160 million raised so far puts the campaign “ahead of schedule,” said Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD ’75, and well along the way to meeting the intermediate goal of $250 million by October 2008.

The $500 million would contribute to programs across the Institute, with $200 million slated for undergraduate financial aid and scholarships, $100 million each to graduate student fellowships, student life, and student learning, said Clay.

The money will not be aimed specifically at generating any major new programs, but rather on supporting current programs because “MIT is very good at coming up with new ideas, but sometimes we don’t have money to support what’s already here,” said Campaign Director Stephen A. Dare.

Clay said that the primary source of donations for the campaign will be individual people, especially alumni, as opposed to corporations and foundations, which are the primary source of funding for other campaigns. The other two major fundraising initiatives on campus now are for the MIT Energy Initiative and the Center for Cancer Research, according to Dare.

During the initial “silent” phase of the Campaign for Students, “we’ve been meeting with alumni in small groups trying to engage donors and generate enthusiasm for the campaign,” Clay said. Presentations have taken place in major centers of alumni across the country, said Clay. There will be a public launch on campus next fall.

“The approach is not to emphasize a list of what we need money for, but rather to show the human face and the energy of the student body,” Clay said. “We’re saying, invest in students.” The campaign is communicating this message by showcasing students in various media, including live presentations, a book on the campaign, and a Web site (http://thehumanfactor.mit.edu/) highlighting individual students’ experiences at the Institute.

Alumni may choose to donate to specific causes within the campaign, such as international programs or student life, Dare said. They may also direct their donations toward short-term spending that may fund, for example, scholarships or athletics, or long-term spending through investment in endowments.

Faculty and staff across the Institute are involved in the campaign. MIT Corporation members have also supported the campaign by hosting events and donating money. “I think we’ll be very successful since we’ve gotten excellent support so far,” Clay said. “We have a chance to do better than $500 million.”