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Are Endowment Spending Levels Sustainable? Trends and Best Practices for Higher Ed Institutions

On-Demand | Originally Broadcast on April 21, 2020

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Endowment Spending Trends

In FY19, more than three quarters of institutions that participated in the 2019 NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments reported that they increased their spending dollars from their endowments, and the total amount of spending from endowments reached $22.7 billion. Since the end of the fiscal year, financial markets have been very volatile, and many analysts predict that institutions will have difficulty reaching their long-term investment return targets and maintaining their current levels of endowment spending. In this environment, many institutions may need to reconsider the traditional “4% spending rule” they rely on to set their endowment spending levels and update their spending policies due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This session uses new data from the 2019 NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments to examine recent trends in endowment spending rates and spending policies and discusses new spending strategies institutions can consider in any future low-return environments and when accounting for future changes to spending policies in light of endowment losses due to COVID-19.

Endowment Management Webcast

What You Will Learn

NACUBO’s professional development programs are designed to deliver the skills, concepts, and best practices for success to individuals in the business of higher education. After participating in this program, you will be able to:

  • Appraise the challenges and opportunities in setting new endowment spending policies that are reflective of changes in capital market conditions.
  • Consider new spending rate policies that can better meet institutional spending needs.
  • Evaluate new research showing recent trends in endowment spending rates and spending dollars by endowment size.

Who Should Attend

  • Accountants
  • Chief Business Officers
  • Chief Investment Officers
  • Controllers

Meet The Presenters

  • Michelle Matis, chief financial officer, Northern Arizona University Foundation
  • Maeesha Merchant, senior vice president, finance and operations, The Colburn School
  • Mary Jane Bobyock, managing director, strategic advice for nonprofit clients, SEI
  • Kathleen Masterson, assistant director, research and policy analysis, NACUBO

CPE Information

There are no CPEs offered for this event.

CPE Credits are not available for On-Demand recordings at this time.

NACUBO is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website


Registration assistance: 877.797.7698 or

Cancellation Policies

Member Standard Ends April 21, 2022


Non-Member Standard Ends April 21, 2022




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