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College and University Endowments See Strong Gains in FY14, According to the Annual NACUBO-Commonfund Study

January 29, 2015

U.S. college and university endowment and affiliated foundations achieved an average return (net of investment fees) of 15.5 percent in FY14, a sharp improvement over the 11.7 percent return realized in FY13, according to the 2014 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments® (NCSE). The 2014 NCSE results are based on survey responses received from 832 U.S. college and university endowments and affiliated foundations, representing $516 billion in endowment assets. The average endowment among these respondents was $620 million.

These increased investment returns have benefited students and faculty at many schools with increased endowment dollars for financial aid, research, and other vital programs. Approximately 74 percent of institutions increased spending from their endowments from FY13 to FY14, with a median spending increase of 9.3 percent. On average, endowment withdrawals funded 9.2 percent of institutions’ operating budgets (versus 8.8 percent in FY13).

In addition to a press release, tables from the study are available on the Public NCSE page. The final report will be available for purchase by March 2015. Once available, the online product will provide readers with instant access to results from the study. Colleges, universities, and affiliated foundations that participated in the 2014 NCSE will receive complimentary access to the final report once it's released.

Media Coverage

The 2014 NCSE generated significant media attention, including coverage in Inside Higher Ed, The Wall Street Journal (blog), Forbes and Bloomberg. See below for a sample of media hits: