Mixed Returns for Endowments

Ann McClure's picture
Monday, October 1, 2012

An uneven economic year yielded uneven results for the largest university endowments, with reports released through Thursday revealing a range of results, from a fractional loss on investments for Harvard to a healthy gain for M.I.T.

Harvard said on Thursday that its endowment posted an investment loss of 0.05 percent in the fiscal year ended June 30, due to steep losses on its large foreign assets. Taking into account new donations collected and money spent, Harvard’s endowment fell $1 billion, to $30.7 billion — still the largest by far, but well below the $36.9 billion it reached in mid-2008, just before the financial crisis struck.

Yale’s endowment earned a 4.7 percent investment return, the university said on Thursday. But it ended the fiscal year down slightly, at $19.3 billion, as spending outpaced investment earnings and new gifts.

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported an 8 percent gain on investments, with its endowment reaching $10.3 billion, up from $9.7 billion.

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