College and university endowment funds gained an average of 15.8 percent on their investments in the 2013-14 fiscal year, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Pensions & Investments report, citing preliminary data from the Commonfund Institute and the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The full fiscal 2014 report will be released in January.
The analysis of data from 426 early-reporting institutions found that colleges with the largest endowments—$1-billion or more—performed the best, returning 16.8 percent for the year ended June 30. Last year's final Nacubo-Commonfund study, encompassing 835 educational endowments, showed an average gain of 11.7 percent. Returns in all asset classes improved compared to fiscal 2013.
"The studies have reported double-digit gains in four of the past five years, giving endowments a chance to rebuild after the erosion" in funds caused by the 2008 financial crash, said John S. Griswold, Commonfund's executive director.