Harvard leads billion-dollar endowment club

Investment return and heavy gift-giving led to big increases in school assets last year.

By Les Christie, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Harvard has a bigger endowment fund than any other school and Tufts' fund posted the biggest increase in 2006, according to a survey released Monday.

The average schools' endowment funds posted a 10.7 percent return on investment during the year, according to the survey of 765 schools by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). The S&P 500 gained 13.5 percent for the year.

Harvard's $28 billion endowment grew 13.5 percent last year, including both market returns and gifts.

The strong market doubly benefited endowment funds, according to NACUBO spokeswoman Jessica Shedd. Not only were equity returns higher but alumni and others were more generous with donations. Last year gifts accounted for about 20 percent of the increase in the size of the average endowment fund.

The majority of the average school's endowment (78 percent) was in equities and fixed-income securities.

Some schools fattened their endowment funds far faster than any others. Of the 62 schools with billion-dollar-plus endowments, Tufts University, a private liberal arts school located outside Boston, increased its fund the most, by 43.8 percent to more than $1.2 billion.

Helping feed that growth was Loews Corp. CEO Jonathan Tisch, who donated $40 million to Tufts last year to fund a college of citizenship and public service.

Among the richest schools, Yale, at $18 billion, was a somewhat distant second to Harvard, but its fund expanded at a quicker pace, 18.4 percent.

The Ivies dominate the top of the list with five of the richest 11 schools. Princeton is fifth, Columbia seventh and Penn is 11th. Other top 10 schools included Stanford, which was third with $14.1 billion, Texas (fourth with $13.2 billion) and MIT (sixth with 8.4 billion).

None of the billion-dollar schools lost money; Baylor College of Medicine, at 5.1 percent, increased its endowment by the smallest rate. Top of page

The 62 members of the billion-dollar, endowment-fund club

College endowment
Institution State 2006 endowment
funds (in thousands)
2005 endowments
funds (in thousands)
Percent change
Harvard University MA $28,915,706 $25,473,721 13.50%
Yale University CT 18,030,600 15,224,900 18.40%
Stanford University CA 14,084,676 12,205,000 15.40%
University of Texas System TX 13,234,848 11,610,997 14.00%
Princeton University NJ 13,044,900 11,206,500 16.40%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology MA 8,368,066 6,712,436 24.70%
Columbia University NY 5,937,814 5,190,564 14.40%
University of California CA 5,733,621 5,221,916 9.80%
University of Michigan MI 5,652,262 4,931,338 14.60%
The Texas A&M University System and Foundations TX 5,642,978 4,963,879 13.70%
University of Pennsylvania PA 5,313,268 4,369,782 21.60%
Northwestern University IL 5,140,668 4,215,275 22.00%
Emory University GA GA 4,870,019 4,376,272 11.30%
University of Chicago IL 4,867,003 4,137,494 17.60%
Washington University MO 4,684,737 4,268,415 9.80%
Duke University NC 4,497,718 3,826,153 17.60%
University of Notre Dame IN 4,436,624 3,650,224 21.50%
Cornell University NY 4,321,199 3,777,092 14.40%
Rice University TX 3,986,664 3,611,127 10.40%
University of Virginia VA 3,618,172 3,219,098 12.40%
Dartmouth College NH 3,092,100 2,714,300 13.90%
University of Southern California CA 3,065,935 2,746,051 11.60%
Vanderbilt University TN 2,946,392 2,628,437 12.10%
Johns Hopkins University MD 2,350,749 2,176,909 8.00%
University of Minnesota and Related Foundations MN 2,224,308 1,968,930 13.00%
Brown University RI 2,166,633 1,843,904 17.50%
Ohio State University and Foundation OH 1,996,839 1,726,007 15.70%
University of Pittsburgh PA 1,802,859 1,529,884 17.80%
University of Washington WA 1,794,370 1,489,924 20.40%
New York University NY 1,774,700 1,548,000 14.60%
The Rockefeller University NY 1,771,954 1,556,945 13.80%
Case Western Reserve University OH 1,598,566 1,516,481 5.40%
California Institute of Technology CA 1,580,922 1,417,931 11.50%
Purdue University IN 1,493,554 1,340,536 11.40%
University of Rochester NY 1,491,275 1,369,969 8.90%
Grinnell College IA 1,471,804 1,390,545 5.80%
Williams College MA 1,462,131 1,348,374 8.40%
Pomona College CA 1,457,213 1,298,629 12.20%
Boston College MA 1,447,887 1,270,303 14.00%
University of Wisconsin Foundation WI 1,425,750 1,124,855 26.70%
University of Toronto ON 1,414,513 1,201,517 17.70%
Wellesley College MA 1,412,410 1,275,529 10.70%
University of Richmond VA 1,387,834 1,207,573 14.90%
Amherst College MA 1,337,158 1,154,570 15.80%
Pennsylvania State University PA 1,326,390 1,174,828 12.90%
Indiana University and Foundation IN 1,276,160 1,107,498 15.20%
Yeshiva University NY 1,273,327 1,148,687 10.90%
University of Illinois and Foundation IL 1,252,290 1,147,517 9.10%
Swarthmore College PA 1,245,281 1,164,069 7.00%
University of Delaware DE 1,223,203 1,077,102 13.60%
Tufts University MA 1,215,413 845,389 43.80%
Smith College MA 1,156,350 1,035,542 11.70%
University of Nebraska and Foundation NE 1,153,559 1,042,290 10.70%
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill NC 1,149,222 973,920 18.00%
Southern Methodist University TX 1,122,477 1,013,703 10.70%
University of Cincinnati OH 1,101,100 1,032,124 6.70%
Baylor College of Medicine TX 1,059,393 1,008,261 5.10%
Kansas University Endowment Association KS 1,049,367 954,943 9.90%
Michigan State University MI 1,047,792 906,342 15.60%
Georgia Tech Foundation, Inc. GA 1,047,724 937,410 11.80%
Wake Forest University NC 1,042,558 906,803 15.00%
Texas Christian University TX 1,016,353 941,798 7.90%
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.