November 5, 2015

University endowment reaches all-time high of $7.58 billion

The University of Chicago’s endowment is at an all-time high of $7.58 billion as of June 30, 2015, according to a press release from the University News Office last week.

The portfolio’s return for the fiscal year, which ended on June 30, was 4.8 percent. This exceeded the 3.1 percent previously used as the portfolio’s benchmark return.

During the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, the University of Chicago’s endowments decreased in value by approximately 21.5 percent. Since then, average investment returns of 11.4 percent have contributed over $4 billion to the endowment.

In the past two decades, the University of Chicago’s endowment has grown more than sixfold, increasing from $1.1 billion to its current $7.58 billion.

The University of Chicago’s investment gain for the past year is higher than the 3.6 percent that Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service reported to be the median return for endowments above $500 million. However, the University’s return is lower than the investment gains of some of its self-declared peer institutions, such as Brown University, the lowest-performing Ivy League Institution, which had a return of 5.7 percent. The highest performing institutions include Princeton and Yale, whose investment gains are 12.7 percent and 11.5 percent respectively.

Every year, a portion of the endowment is appropriated to the University budget. Trustees of the University may approve a certain amount of spending that falls within the range of 4.5 to 5.5 percent of a certain average market value over a three-year period.

“We view investments as an important part of an integrated approach to the University’s fiscal health,” Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Mark Schmid said in the University’s press release. “Working closely with the Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee and Financial Planning Committee, as well as University leadership, we continue to believe this integrated approach will best support the University’s mission in all types of market conditions on a long-term basis.”

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Endowment Down 1.9 Percent

By Adam Thorp

This is the first time it has lost ground since the depths of the financial crisis.


October 14, 2016