Returns Down for Educational Endowments

June 13, 2013 ( – The investment returns earned by educational endowments during 2012 were down compared to 2011.

By Kevin McGuinness | June 13, 2013
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The “2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments” showed endowments for U.S. colleges and universities returned an average of -0.3% (net of fees) for the 2012 fiscal year (July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012). This was a large decline from the average return of 19.2% for the 2011 fiscal year.

However, over the longer term, the study found 10-year returns were 6.2% in 2012 compared with 5.6% in the 2011 fiscal year. This suggested to the study authors that long-term performance for many institutions continues to improve.

“This year’s data show the re-emergence of a number of long-term trends in the sector,” said John D. Walda, NACUBO president and CEO, and John S. Griswold, Commonfund Institute executive director, in a joint statement. “Over the years, institutions with the largest endowments have reported the highest one-year returns. This trend can be seen once again in this year’s data, as well as data for the trailing periods.”