A record $2.8 billion was given to colleges in 1979-80, up $570 million or 18 percent over the pervious years, the Council for Financial Aid to Education reports. John Haire, council president, said the increase was greater than the inflation rate, in contrast was greater than the inflation rate, in contrast to the previous year when giving rose only 6 percent -- behind the inflation rate of that year. In addition, the report said:

Gifts from alumni rose 16 percent to $910 million. Foundations gave $903 million, up 23 percent.

Gifts from non-alumni individuals increased by 15 percent to $847 million. Corporations gave $696 million, up 25 percent.

Gifts from religious denominations dipped 4 percent to $155 million. At the receiving end, Emory University led with $115.5 million, including a $105 million gift from the Woodruff Fund, a foundation set up by the head of Coca-Cola. Indescending order, others among the top 10: Harvard University, $76.1 million; University of California System, $74.9 million; University of Texas System, $60.7 million; Stanford University, $60.1 million; Yale University, $59.6 million; University of Pennsylvania, $49.1 million. Also, Cornell University, $46.2 million; University of Southern California, $42.2 million; University of Minnesota, $40.5 million. For the second year in a a row, major private colleges reported more than $1 billion in contributions, an average of $16.2 million each. Of the corporate gifts, Haire said, "This 25 percent increase is especially remarkable since corporate pretax net income rose only about 15 percent in 1978-79, when contributions budgets were set." Figures in the report, estimates for 1979-80, were projected from data received from 1,019 institutions of higher learning.