summarizes a new study by Jonathan Meer and Harvey Rosen of why people give money to their alma mater. An excerpt:
Alumni with kids are 13 percentage points more likely than alumni without kids to give in any year. The tendency to give rises slowly—by three more percentage points total—through kids' early teens. At about age 14, as mom and dad see their kid's algebra and composition grades, they decide whether he or she will apply to the alma mater. If they decide against, then they need not give extra to grease his way in. But if the kid is legacy material, then the parents might feel a need to show some generosity to Anon U.
And, indeed, while giving declines after age 14 among parents of kids who do not go on to apply, giving rises from about 18 to 25 percentage points (above the level of the childless alums) for those whose kids do apply a few years later. The timing is certainly suggestive.