(WASHINGTONTIMES) — For the 99 percent of colleges, it was a pretty good fundraising year.

For the 1 percent of super-wealthy elite, it was a much better one that catapulted them even farther ahead of the pack.

The latest annual college fundraising figures out Wednesday show donations to colleges and universities rose 8.2 percent in fiscal 2011, crossing back over the $30 billion mark for just the second time ever, and improving many schools’ financial footing after several lean years due to the economic downturn.

But the very richest universities accounted for nearly half the growth: Of the $30.3 billion collected by colleges and universities nationwide, $8.2 billion, or 27 percent, was raised by just the top 20 institutions. At those universities, fundraising was 15.3 percent higher than the year before, widening an already yawning wealth gap at the top of higher education.

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