University News

Endowment increases by 19 percent in 2011

By
Contributing Writer
Monday, February 13, 2012

The University’s endowment grew approximately 16 percent over the past fiscal year, according to the 2011 Study of Endowments released last month by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. College endowments included in the study experienced an average growth of about 19 percent, an increase from the previous year’s average of 12 percent.

The study takes investment gains, gifts to the University and money withdrawn  into consideration but disregards rates of return on the investments.

But to University administrators, the numbers released in the study were nothing new.

“You look at (the study) as an after-the-fact,” said Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration. “That’s how we did relative to others.”  

“By the time it comes out, we’ve absorbed all the information,” she added. According to the University’s own calculations, the endowment grew by about 19 percent last fiscal year.

“It wasn’t the top, and it wasn’t the bottom,” Huidekoper said of the total endowment return. “It was a good year.”

When compared to other Ivy League institutions, the University employs a relatively conservative endowment investment approach, said Provost Mark Schlissel P’15.

“It’s more important to us to protect from risk of the endowment taking a big hit than it is to squeeze out every percentage point of growth,” Schlissel said.

At approximately $2.5 billion, Brown’s endowment is the smallest in the Ivy League, but according to the study, its total growth surpassed Harvard’s, Dartmouth’s and Cornell’s in 2011.

Both Huidekoper and Schlissel said with the current economic state both globally and domestically, it is unlikely this year’s endowment growth will exceed last year’s.