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Higher Ed

Survey reports falling endowments nationwide

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

University endowments nationwide saw an average endowment loss of 18.7 percent for the last fiscal year, according to a report with data from 842 institutions compiled by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund.

Colleges with small endowments, on average, saw better returns than their wealthier counterparts — an outcome that most experts have never encountered, Inside Higher Ed reported Jan. 28. Brown’s endowment, which is among the biggest in the nation, saw more than a 26 percent decline, President Ruth Simmons wrote in an e-mail to the Brown community Feb. 2.

Some of Brown’s wealthier peer institutions suffered bigger losses — Harvard’s and Yale’s endowments took the biggest hits, with a 29.8 percent and a 28.6 percent reduction, respectively, according to the report. However, several institutions with larger endowments than Brown’s — including Princeton, Columbia, Northwestern and the University of Chicago — reported comparatively smaller decreases.

Yale cuts grad admission by up to 15 percent

Yale will downsize doctoral admissions to its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences by 10 to 15 percent beginning the next academic year, according to Inside Higher Ed. 

The scale back in graduate admissions is one of several efforts — along with staff layoffs and reduced salaries of top administrators — to recover from Yale’s budget deficit of more than $100 million, the Yale Daily News reported Feb. 5.  

Though master’s degree students pay tuition, Yale supports each doctoral student with $65,000 to $70,000 per year in stipends and fellowships, Yale President Richard Levin told the Yale Daily News.

Brown, faced with an endowment reduced by about $740 million, is considering $30 million in budget cuts for the next fiscal year, according to Simmons’ e-mail to students, faculty and staff Feb. 2, but doctoral programs may see increased funding. 

“The University’s resources committee’s budget recommendations call for modest funding increases for the Graduate School,” Dean of the Graduate School Sheila Bonde said, “with improved stipends for doctoral students, funds for 10 additional graduate students and enhanced faculty compensation to ensure that Brown attracts and retains top scholars, who work closely with both graduate and undergraduate students.”

“Over the past decade, Brown has invested in strengthening the Graduate School, which is central to the University’s mission,” Bonde added. “The University maintains that commitment.”

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