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March 16, 2012

In Education: UCLA Endowment Is Fastest-Growing Among Major U.S. Schools

The endowment of the University of California at Los Angeles has gained an average of 12.3 percent annually for the past three years, by far the fastest growth among the best-endowed U.S. colleges, according to a Bloomberg review of schools' financial data.

UCLA has benefited from some of the biggest donations of the post-recession rebound in higher-education giving, including $200-million from casino tycoon Kirk Kerkorian and $100-million from industrialist Meyer Luskin and his wife, Renee, helping boost the school's endowment to $1.49-billion as of last year.

Bloomberg compiled data on 71 institutions with assets exceeding $1-billion. Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., ranked second on the list, averaging 6.5 percent growth from 2008 to 2011.

Harvard's endowment, the nation's biggest at $31.7-billion, shrank 3.7 percent a year over that period, and Yale's declined by 4.7 percent annually.

In other education news, England's University of Oxford has raised $2-billion in the past eight years, slightly closing the wealth gap opened up in recent years by its traditional rival, Cambridge, writes the Financial Times. Its campaign, which began in 2004, is still continuing.

Oxford's endowment stands at just shy of $6-billion, which would place it 15th among U.S. universities. After completing a $1.9-billion drive last year to mark its 800th anniversary, Cambridge has about $7-billion in assets.

The two schools dominate U.K. higher-education fundraising, accounting for about half of university donations in 2009-10.