Harvard, with $28.9 billion, Leads U.S. Endowment Club; Top 20 are ...

The average U.S. schools' endowment funds posted a 10.7% return on investment during the year, according to the survey of 765 schools by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). By comparison, the S&P 500 gained 13.5% in 2006.

Harvard's $28 billion endowment tops the US rankings by market value, followed by Yale at $18 billion. Harvard's endowment grew 13.5% last year, including both market returns and gifts. 

  • Of the 62 schools with billion-dollar-plus endowments, Tufts University's fund increased the most, by 43.8% to more than $1.2 billion.
  • Last year gifts accounted for about 20% of the increase in the size of the average endowment fund.
  • The majority of the average school's endowment (78%) was in equities and fixed-income securities.
  • Over the past decade, the portion of investments in asset classes other than equities and fixed income (mostly private equity, hedge funds, real estate funds) has more than tripled, from 5.4% to 17.3% of investment portfolios

The Ivies dominate the top of the list with 5 of the richest 11 schools: Princeton (5t with $13B);  Columbia (7th with $5.9B) and Penn (11th with $5.3B).

Other top schools included Stanford (3rd with $14.1 billion), Texas (4th with $13.2 billion) and MIT (6th with $8.4 billion).

Top 20 U.S. Endowments by Market Value - 2006

Institution

State

2006 Endowment Funds ($000)

1 Harvard University

MA

28,915,706

2 Yale University

CT

18,030,600

3 Stanford University

CA

14,084,676

4 University of Texas System

TX

13,234,848

5 Princeton University

NJ

13,044,900

6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MA

8,368,066

7 Columbia University

NY

5,937,814

8 University of California

CA

5,733,621

9 University of Michigan

MI

5,652,262

10 The Texas A&M University System and Foundations

TX

5,642,978

11 University of Pennsylvania

PA

5,313,268

12 Northwestern University

IL

5,140,668

13 Emory University

GA

4,870,019

14 University of Chicago

IL

4,867,003

15 Washington University

MO

4,684,737

16 Duke University

NC

4,497,718

17 University of Notre Dame

IN

4,436,624

18 Cornell University

NY

4,321,199

19 Rice University

TX

3,986,664

20 University of Virginia

VA

3,618,172

Source: National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)

The complete 2006 study is available for download at www.nacubo.org.

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