Amay Tewari

Yale posted 5.7 percent returns on its endowment in the fiscal year 2018-19 –– a figure that falls slightly below last year’s above-average returns.

According to a Friday press release, the University’s endowment reached a total of $30.3 billion on June 30, the end of the most recent fiscal year. Although some Ivy League institutions have yet to announce returns on their endowment for this fiscal year, Yale lagged behind its peers among the five that have.

Still, Charles Skorina, a longtime endowments tracker whose firm recruits institutional investment executives, told the News that more focus should be on long-term trend lines. The year-to-year gains are estimates that “don’t mean much,” he added.

“When it comes to Yale, you need to look at their average over a five-year period at least,” he said.

Over the past 20 years, Yale’s endowment returned a yearly average of 11.4 percent, the release stated, which Skorina called “stellar.” This figure is almost double the estimated 6.5 percent average return for college and university endowments nationwide, adding $28.6 billion of value relative to the average.

The endowments of Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania each grew 6.5 percent this year, and Dartmouth College’s grew 7.5 percent. Brown University –– with the smallest endowment fund in the Ivy League –– saw the group’s highest returns so far, 12.4 percent. All five schools experienced figures below their respective returns of last year, at the end of which Yale reported 12.3 percent.

Figures released by colleges across the country show what analysts at Barron’s called a disappointing year for endowments as a whole.

Yale keeps a “well-diversified, equity-oriented portfolio,” the release stated, with 21.5 percent allocated to venture capital, 10 percent to real estate and 2.75 percent in domestic equity.

In January, Vice President for Finance Stephen Murphy ’87 told the News that Yale’s finances are in good shape, which has allowed the University to invest in its resources in new projects.

“The University is in good shape from a financial standpoint, and we have a lot of great investments that we are making as a result — the construction of the new science building, the renovation of the Hall of Graduate Studies, the opening of the two new residential colleges, as well as the expansion of financial aid,” Murphy said. “All these things are made possible by the University’s strong financial position.”

For Yale’s 2019-20 fiscal year, the University plans to spend roughly $1.4 billion — over a third of its net revenues — from the endowment on operational costs, the release states. This money goes to faculty salaries, student scholarships and specific programs, among other expenses, and is Yale’s largest source of income.

Matt Kristoffersen |matthew.kristoffersen@yale.edu 

  • Nancy Morris

    It is telling that this article includes not a single quote by a representative of the YIO or anyone else in the administration regarding the actual topic of this report.

    Few responsible people in the Yale community – especially the YIO – care to speak with the YDN, and for very good reasons. Those that do speak are carefully reserved or highly cynical in what they say. That’s because in recent years the YDN has crafted for itself a reputation for coverage that is generally highly inaccurate, tendentious, ignorant, untrustworthy, preposterously hostile, sensationalistic, foolish, perverse, naive, short-sighted, destructive, self-important and narcissistic to the point of solipsism.

    As new management prepares to assume responsibility for the YDN, they would be well put to focus on the very real problems of the quality and tenor of coverage, and especially the paper’s relationship with the Yale administration and the YIO in particular. The YDN should of course not aspire to the roles of lap dog and dictation scribe assumed by the Harvard Crimson, for example. But neither should the YDN be routinely providing grounds for University officers to justifiably equate notice from the YDN that a reporter wishes to schedule an interview to a warning from the YPD of an incursion onto University property by an escapee of some local lunatic asylum.