The top 10 university endowments by size hold an unbelievable amount of wealth.
Universities, and the portfolio managers that invest their funds, note that endowment growth provides major funds for a school’s operating budget.
The portfolio earnings are also a highly competitive venture, and the schools are closely watched, just like competitive Wall Street funds, with schools jockeying to produce the best portfolio results.
Many of the universities with largest endowments released their 2015 earnings over the past few weeks, allowing comparison of earnings to begin.
To get a better sense of the investment gains, first take a look at the universities ranked by their 2014 endowment size.
Harvard University – $35.9 billionUniversity of Texas System – $25.4 billionYale University – $23.9 billionStanford University – $21.4 billionPrinceton University – $21 billionMIT – $12.4 billionThe Texas A&M – $11.1 billionNorthwestern University – $9.8 billionUniversity of Michigan – $9.7 billionUniversity of Pennsylvania – $9.6 billion
Of those 10, six universities have released their 2015 endowment reports. Below, they are ranked by their investment returns.
MIT: 13.2% investment gain (endowment of $13.5 billion)Yale: 11.5% investment gain (endowment of $25.6 billion)UPenn: 7.4% investment gain (endowment of $10.1 billion)Stanford: 7% investment gain (endowment of $22.2 billion)Harvard 5.8% increase (endowment of $ 37.6 billion)University of Texas 3.5% (exact endowment number not yet released)
Of note, Harvard again performed at the bottom of the pack among Ivy League schools. Harvard – whose portfolio has been performing poorly since the 2008 economic crisis – is aiming to reverse that trend. It promoted Stephen Blyth to chief executive officer of Harvard Management Co. in January.