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Articles: Endowments

More than 500 colleges and universities provide some type of resource to help students address unexpected financial emergencies, according to a 2016 study by NASPA.

Lori E. Varlotta is president of Hiram College in Ohio.

This fall, Hiram College becomes one of just a few universities in the country—and the only four-year college in Ohio—to launch a campuswide mobile technology program.

BACK A BOILER—Purdue's self-funded ISA program has served 160 juniors and seniors since its launch in fall 2016 and will include sophomores as of next school year. Students with any major may participate in the program, launched as part of a broader effort to make college affordable.

The ISA concept, which many describe as selling stock in yourself, is now an emerging hot topic within the higher ed financing debate.

Barry Mills has been appointed higher ed deputy chancellor and chief operating officer of the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Barry Mills has been appointed deputy chancellor and chief operating officer of the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Keeping student tuition and fees down is the top priority for 2017 selected by campus CFOs and other finance department administrators in a UB survey—yet tuition revenue and nontuition student fees are the biggest anticipated funding categories for the coming year.

Nirmal P. Narvekar, now at Harvard, was previously CEO of Columbia University’s $9.6 billion endowment, which returned an average 10.1 percent during his leadership.

Nirmal P. Narvekar is the new president and CEO of Harvard’s $35.7 billion endowment, the largest fund in higher ed.

Narvekar, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. derivatives trader, was also previously CEO of Columbia University’s $9.6 billion fund, which returned an average 10.1 percent during his leadership from 2005 to 2015. At Harvard, he is expecting to improve fund performance and reorganize staff at Harvard Management Co., which oversees the endowment.

When Teri McIntyre was a University of Wisconsin undergrad in the early ‘90s, she volunteered to call alumni to ask for college fund donations and—believe it or not—she liked making those calls. A university development officer noticed and offered McIntyre a job after graduation.

Thomas J. Botzman is president of Misericordia University.

My institution, Misericordia University in Pennsylvania, received a solid, but uninspiring B- on Forbes "America’s Top Colleges 2016." After reviewing the criteria, though, it appears our letter grade represents who we aspire to be as it fits our long-held mission of serving first-generation students and others in need.

Jeffrey R. Docking is the president of Adrian College in Michigan and the author of "Crisis in Higher Education: A Plan To Save Small Liberal Arts Colleges in America."

Sometimes, well-known propositions lead to predictable conclusions. But not always. Occasionally, they lead to surprises—and even busted myths. Here’s one: Wealthy, private institutions willing to invest large endowments in financial aid for poorer students do the best job of expanding access to higher education.

Intentional Endowments Network supports investment practices that produce financial returns while addressing environmental, social, governance and sustainability factors.

With college students increasingly calling on schools to divest endowments from fossil fuels, Becker College in Massachusetts became the first institution to mandate that all of its investments generate a positive impact on society—and a targeted financial return.

Being able to draw from the endowment is important for an institution like Berea College because of its no-tuition promise. Students are required to work as they attend school, with assignments such as greeting guests at the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel.

On average, academic institutions spend between 4.5 and 5 percent of their endowments annually. But when endowment returns are way down, it’s not exactly prudent to spend the same percentage of the endowment with the assumption that target investment payoff percentages will return.

It’s certainly not black or white for investors.

“The discussion around the table in investment committees is: How do you allocate risk across various investment options available to optimize returns for five to seven years? There isn’t a neat, pat answer,” says Bill Jarvis of the Commonfund Institute.

At the University of South Florida, current and former scholarship recipients were among those who signed a giant thank-you card presented to donors Barron and Dana Collier during a ceremony announcing their latest major gift.

Smart advancement teams put thought and research into making stewardship individual and heartfelt. But how far will institutions bend on their mission when a donor offers big bucks? Are donors negotiating for honorary degrees, access to students, influence over scholarships or a leg up in recruiting graduates?

Donald J. Farish is president of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.

We are in danger of creating an environment where the “best” (meaning the wealthiest) colleges and universities are perceived to be reserved for those with sufficient status, money and influence. Everyone else is effectively relegated to struggling institutions that cost too much yet that cannot provide sufficient financial aid to meet the needs of their students.

A biomass plant opened on Middlebury’s campus in 2009, marking a significant step toward the college’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2016.

Fossil fuel and private prison divestment may make the biggest headlines when it comes to how colleges invest endowment funds—but it’s not actually that common a practice. A growing number of colleges and universities now seek bigger impacts—and substantial financial returns—with a strategy known as “ESG.”

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