Yale beats Harvard on endowment returns

yale university endowment
The return on the endowment for Yale University (pictured above) outpaced rival Ivy Leagues including Harvard.

Yale University's endowment earned an investment return of 12.5% in its last fiscal year, surpassing the return rate of rival universities, including Harvard University.

Yale's endowment fattened to $20.8 billion, from $19.3 billion in the prior year, the university said Tuesday.

That's better than its annual average return of 11% over the last 10 years, it said. During that time, the endowment has grown from $11 billion.

While the size of Harvard's endowment is much larger than Yale's, the return rate lags. Harvard announced on Tuesday that its endowment was valued at $32.7 billion at the end of the most recent fiscal year with a return of 11.3%.

Jane Mendillo, president of the Harvard Management Company, said that the university has "made a strong recovery since the global economic downturn of 2008-2009."

However, Harvard said the endowment's return slipped below its 20-year annual average of 12%.

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More than 60% of Harvard undergraduates received scholarship aid, according to the university, with one-fifth of the students paying no tuition at all, "based on economic need."

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Yale's return also surpassed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which announced an investment return of 11.1% for its pool of funds, which totaled $11 billion at the end of the fiscal year.

But MIT has made significant progress in the last year. The university said that its endowment totaled $10.3 billion in fiscal year 2012, with a return of 8%.

The fiscal year for Yale, Harvard and MIT ends on June 30.

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