Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Florida Tech need financial support? Doesn’t tuition cover most of the costs associated with operations?

Tuition is able to cover only about 30 percent of the overall costs associated with Florida Tech. Private philanthropy and contracts are critical to sustaining the university and enabling it to grow. Without the support of generous individuals and organizations, Florida Tech would be a very different organization. Fortunately, those individuals and companies do step up and provide needed funds. However, growth and innovation are dependent on continued support, which is why philanthropy is a key culture value at Florida Tech and why building the Florida Tech family is so important.

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Why should I consider giving to Florida Tech? What makes it worthy of philanthropic support?

Florida Tech is one of the best universities in the world, which is evident in the increasing numbers of students from across the nation as well as the growing international student body. For more information on why Florida Tech is worthy of philanthropic consideration, consider some of these facts:

  • Our university has had a truly global influence this past year. President Anthony J. Catanese led a Florida state delegation to the Second Taiwan-Florida Higher Education Conference that followed up on last year’s meeting in Orlando. As chairman of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) and Florida Delegation chairman, Dr. Catanese signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the cooperation and partnership of all Florida private universities with all Taiwan private universities. As Florida Tech president, Dr. Catanese signed a MOU for student and research partnerships with the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin; developed a partnership with Beijing University, Beijing, one of the top institutes of technology in China; and developed a program for recruiting top Chinese engineering and science students with five private companies. ICUF President Ed Moore and Florida Tech Provost and Executive Vice President T. Dwayne McCay joined Dr. Catanese on the trip. Another example of Florida Tech’s global influence is its work with the commercial space community. Our university will be working with a world-class consortium to ensure the commercial space community can meet current and future space transportation needs. Florida Tech was selected as one of the core universities for the new Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico. The center is a partnership of academia, industry and government. Along with other universities, Florida Tech will be working with organizations such as the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX.
  • Florida Tech continues to receive national acclaim. The university is now recognized as a top tier National University by U.S. News & World Report. In the recently released 2011 results, Florida Tech was named a Tier 1 Best National University, among just 197 colleges and universities across the nation. U.S. News annually ranks more than 1,400 institutions. Florida Tech ranked #159, making it the second-highest ranked private National University in Florida, behind only the University of Miami.
  • On the national scene, Florida Tech researchers are involved in a number of projects that impact the environment. Florida Tech continues to participate in research on the worst accidental offshore oil spill in history. We have been part of an effort to determine where the Deep Horizon gulf oil spill spread. Florida Tech marine scientists Stephen Wood and Michael Splitt, Department of Marine and Environmental Systems (DMES), each led two of four research cruises in June with about a dozen university students. The researchers were on three-day observation cruises from St. Petersburg to Key West and the Dry Tortugas. They looked for oil and tar balls and took water samples from the 130-foot oceangoing research vessel R/V Weatherbird II. Our students, in cooperation with the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, dropped three ocean drifter buoys beside and into the Loop Current to monitor its impact. “This is the most relevant work we’ve ever done on the summer (project) cruises and we’re excited about making a contribution to oil spill studies in the gulf,” said George Maul, DMES department head.
  • Graduate student Michelle Meadows is doing her part to help conserve fisheries in Florida for future generations. Meadows was recently awarded the 2010 Dr. Nancy Foster scholarship for her research project, “Spawning of Snapper Species along the East Coast of Central and North Florida.” She was one of seven scholars from throughout the nation to earn the scholarships.
  • Another group of students in the Department of Marine and Environmental Systems focused their research on generating energy from the ocean. As their senior engineering project, they designed a way to produce electrical power from wave energy. The wildlife-friendly Wing Wave Ocean Energy Generator will be deployed this fall. The project has attracted the attention of corporate sponsors as well as representatives of Kennedy Space Center, the city of Melbourne and Brevard County, Florida.
  • Florida Tech’s student-athletes also made good use of the waves on the Atlantic coast. Our surf team placed first in the most recent National Scholastic Surfing competition.
  • Our student-athletes made waves in academics too. During the 2009-10 academic year, 99 Florida Tech student-athletes earned a spot on the Sunshine State Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Thirty-six of those, over one-third, boasted a perfect 4.0! Impressively, the cumulative GPA of Florida Tech’s student-athletes is greater than that of the university’s general student body. In fact, 110 student-athletes representing all 15 varsity sports last year had a 3.2 GPA or higher and were named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. Collectively, the women’s cross country team and women’s tennis team, two of eight women’s varsity sports at Florida Tech, posted the highest team GPAs for the 2009-10 academic year with a 3.49 and 3.48, respectively.
  • Exciting academic initiatives are constantly surfacing at Florida Tech. The university is developing a minor in nanoscience and nanotechnology to begin in the summer of 2011. Work is led by faculty members Jim Brenner of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Kurt Winkelmann and Joel Olson of the Department of Chemistry. “Our goal is to develop the first nanotech program in the world that features multiple laboratory courses because most learning in this field comes through the process of doing,” said Brenner. Some of the course content is relevant in biomedical imaging, biodiagnostic screening devices, and upgrading crude oil.
  • In the College of Engineering, a doctor of philosophy degree in systems engineering is now offered. This degree is designed to provide advanced education and research opportunities to qualified students. The Department of Humanities and Communications is introducing a humanities pre-law option and related courses.
  • Building excellence in academics goes hand-in-hand with building physical facilities to support faculty, students and programs. Recent major building projects include a new dining hall and a 264-space parking garage on the south side of campus. The All Faith Center is being remodeled, with a new steeple already installed. Future goals include new facilities for the College of Business and the School of Psychology and renovations to the marine operations center and the Vero Beach Marine Laboratory.

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Where do philanthropic funds come from?

Gifts come from various sources, but the greatest number of gifts comes from alumni and friends who want to be partners with Florida Tech, while sustaining its rich legacy and future of academic excellence.

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How does the Office of Development support Florida Tech?

The office helps people make philanthropic commitments and provides support services that ensure that gifts are handled according to donor-focused, ethical standards. Gifts made annually are used to support the broad array of university needs and donor-designated gifts are applied to various programs in which the donors have expressed interest. This combination of unrestricted and designated gifts provides the lifeblood to Florida Tech and makes innovation possible. Funds are raised, managed, invested and disbursed to enhance the Florida Tech educational experience. Outright gifts, planned gifts (through bequests, trusts), and other forms of giving create partnerships through which alumni, friends, and communities can be part of the dynamic forward movement of our great university.

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What is meant by “philanthropic partnership”?

Philanthropy is always based on what the donor wants, not on the needs of the institution. Once a donor has articulated a particular interest, we are able to see if that interest can be addressed through engagement in a Florida Tech initiative. If so, a partnership is possible. This is a win/win in which the donor is able to achieve his or her objectives and Florida Tech is able to receive funding for that initiative. Shared vision is established and both parties can celebrate the successes. Philanthropic partnerships are the only way to reach for the highest level of engagement and the highest return on investment for all concerned.

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How can I be sure that my gift will support the college or program of my choice?

When you designate your gift for a particular college or program and your gift is accepted, Florida Tech is legally responsible to fulfill your designation. More important, Florida Tech is ethically accountable to follow your instructions if we accept your gift. You have our word on it!

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Are gifts tax deductible?

Yes, gifts to Florida Institute of Technology is a 501(c)3 organization and gifts are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law. The Office of Development will provide you with a letter for your tax filing purposes. Keep in mind that some gifts may have a “return in goods and services” or something you receive in return that has a fair market value. If so, your letter will stipulate the portion that is not considered a tax deduction. For example, tickets to an event may be only partially tax deductible, because you receive a dinner, etc. Also, raffle tickets are not considered gifts and auction items for which you paid less than the estimated value are not considered gifts. There are many nuances in how the IRS defines a “gift” and this description is not intended to offer tax advice or information. You should consult your tax advisor.

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Office of Development

150 W. University Blvd. Melbourne, FL 32901
Phone: (321) 674-8962 | Fax: (321) 674-6150

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