Vice-chancellor Andrew Hamilton says donors play an essential role as government funding is cut back
Oxford University has collected £1bn from donors to fund undergraduate teaching, new buildings and student scholarships.
Its vice-chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton, said donors were "fundamental to Oxford's future". The university's donors include the prime minister, David Cameron, and the billionaire Wafic Said.
Hamilton's announcement comes as universities anticipate billions of pounds of government cuts to their budgets over the next few years.
The university launched a campaign two years ago to raise £1.25bn within the next few years, the most ambitious target of any European university.
Professor Hamilton said: "For almost half of the six years that Oxford has been raising funds for the campaign, the world has been in an economic downturn – yet our alumni and supporters have continued to give...
"Their generosity, which is a huge vote of confidence in Oxford, is fundamental to Oxford's future at a time when government funding is so stretched."
This week, the Hong Kong-based luxury retail magnate Dickson Poon donated £10m towards a new building dedicated to the study of China.
The university said the funds would go on new buildings, research, scholarships and the teaching of undergraduates. The Guardian reported yesterday that in a letter to dons, Hamilton wrote: "If we believe strongly that the tutorial system is the best way to nurture maturing minds, we are going to have to find ways of making it more financially sustainable."
A spokesman for Cambridge University said it too had been gathering funds from donors, and had amassed £1.1bn.
Meanwhile, several universities have announced they are opening campuses abroad next year. University College London is opening a campus in Doha, Qatar, while the University of Strathclyde is opening a campus near Delhi, India.