Educational endowments investments returned -24.1% for the six months ended Dec. 31, according to an update to the 2009 Commonfund Benchmarks Study.
Endowments with more than $1 billion in assets returned -21.7%; $501 million to $1 billion, -22%; $101 million to $500 million, -22.9%; $51 million to $100 million, -25.7%; $10 million to $50 million, -25.1%; less than $10 million, -30.2%.
Larger funds fared better because of their diversification into alternatives and their more experienced investment personnel, John S. Griswold, Commonfund executive director, said in a telephone interview..
The average asset allocation to alternative strategies increased to 51% from 46% in the last six months of 2008; domestic equities declined five percentage points to 17%; international equity holdings fell three percentage points to 15%; fixed income rose one percentage point to 13%; and cash increased to 4% from 1%.
The combined value of the 235 educational institutions endowments studied in the update was $114.5 billion as of June 30.
The update included 235 of the 629 institutions that participated in the original study, which was released in November and examined the 12-month period ended June 30. The update was in response to a lot of requests for information, given the extraordinary six months from July to the end of the year in the markets, Mr. Griswold said. Its not a pretty picture overall. This comes with the background of a declining economy and rising unemployment. People are reassessing whether they can afford to pay for an expensive education.