University | 12:45 am | September 22, 2012 | By Gavan Gideon

Penn posts 1.6 percent return on endowment

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Photo by Gavan Gideon.

The University of Pennsylvania became the first Ivy League institution to report the performance of its endowment in fiscal year 2012 today, posting a 1.6 percent return on investments.

The slight gain, which brought the value of Penn’s endowment to $6.8 billion as of June 30, is significantly weaker than the 18.6 percent return the school saw in fiscal year 2011. Penn Chief Investment Officer Kristin Gilbertson said alternative assets such as private equity and real estate helped support the endowment in a year when international equities performed poorly, according to Reuters.

Penn’s figure is indicative of the weaker performances endowments across higher education are likely to register in the latest fiscal period than than they did last year. In a Sept. 13 interview with Bloomberg, Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman said the school will report a zero to 5 percent return on investments for fiscal year 2012.

Harvard and Yale, neither of which have released their own figures, have the largest endowments in higher education, valued at $32 billion and $19.4 billion respectively as of June 30, 2011.

CORRECTION: Sept. 22, 2012

An earlier version of this article misstated the University of Pennsylvania’s return on its endowment for fiscal year 2012. It was 1.6 percent, not 1.9 percent.

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