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Although Penn raised more money than ever before last year, a recent report reflects that its fundraising has fallen slightly behind compared to its peers.

According to an annual report published by the Council for Aid to Education in late February, Penn ranked seventh out of over 1,023 universities in total charitable fundraising for 2007.

Even though the University's overall fundraising increased since 2006, Penn fell from its 2005 and 2006 ranking of fourth on the list since other schools stepped up their fundraising as well.

At the end of every fiscal year, universities self-report fundraising numbers to the CAE, a non-profit organization, through a Web-based interface. The CAE then compiles the data and publishes a report that ranks the schools in terms of gross numbers.

Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations John Zeller said Penn's high ranking was a reflection of the fundraising efforts undertaken in the past year.

"It's obviously a great recognition to be included in that top ten list," he said.

Zeller added that since the CAE only took into account cash donations, the top-ten ranking was an "even greater testament to how well the University is viewed and how well its goals and aspirations resonate."

CAE Survey Director Ann Kaplan said Penn should not be concerned with how it compares to other schools.

"It's more relevant how an institution is doing relative to itself," she said.

Kaplan emphasized that the $392.42 million Penn raised last year was still a commendable sum of money.

"It means that they have a long and established history of fundraising and have cultivated support," she said.

According to an executive summary of this year's report, schools collectively reported the highest gross fundraising ever - a total of $29.75 billion across the 1,023 schools which participated.

Many of Penn's Ivy League peers also fared well in the rankings - Harvard University and Stanford University took the top two spots.

Columbia University and Cornell University ranked fifth and sixth, respectively.

Kaplan pointed out that many schools in the top 10 are in the midst of "very ambitious" campaigns to raise donations, similar to Penn's capital campaign.

"Asking for money is the number one reason that institutions get money in the end," she said.

Zeller agreed that he would attribute the success in 2007 to the capital campaign.

"It's a wonderful testament to how well the campaign is resonating," he said.

He added that he hopes Penn will be able to raise more than the $400 million mark in the 2008 fiscal year since fundraising was only $7.58 million short of doing so last year.

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