10 Facts About University Endowment

June 04, 2014
  • There are 77 universities in the U.S. with endowments* exceeding $1 BILLION (data). 
  • Meanwhile there are only 10 universities in the rest of the world with endowments that high!
  • The top universities are Harvard ($32B), Yale ($20B), Stanford ($19B), Princeton ($18B), and MIT ($11B)
  • Harvard lost $11 billion in the 2008 recession, but don’t feel too bad for them…
  • Harvard’s increase in its endowment from 2012 to 2013 exceeded the GDP of 45 of the countries ranked by the United Nations (source).
  • Almost all of Stanford’s endowment comes from ownership of coal-mining companies; they plan to divest their interest to distance themselves from climate change issues (source).
  • Former Mayer of New York Michael Bloomberg donated $1.1 billion to his (and my) alma mater Johns Hopkins.
  • University endowments exceed the whopping $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, but don’t expect a reallocation any time… ever.
  • In fact tuitions keep rising. The Senate Finance Committee even considered requiring universities spend at least 5% of their endowment each year, just as other foundations must.
  • Several university endowments have come under fire for mismanagement and unsavory investing (examples)

University endowment is the total value of an institution’s investments; it’s generally created through alumni donations. 

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