Aggregate assets of U.S. educational endowments grew 17.9% in the fiscal year ended June 30 to $408.1 billion, according to the 2011 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments released Tuesday.
Harvard University ranked No. 1 on the latest table of U.S. endowment funds from the National Association of College and University Business Officers, which also was released Tuesday.
At $31.7 billion, Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard's assets were up 15.1% from a year earlier and topped second-ranked Yale University, New Haven, Conn., by more than $12 billion. Yale's assets grew 16.3% to $19.4 billion.
University of Texas System, Austin, moved up to third place from fourth with asset growth of 22% to $17.149 billion, barely nudging Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., down to fourth position with assets of $17.110 billion, representing growth of 18.9%. Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., retained the fifth-place spot with assets of $16.5 billion, reflecting growth of 19.1% for the period.
Data analyzed in the new study come from 823 U.S. endowments jointly surveyed by NACUBO and Commonfund about the investment management, returns, asset allocation and other activities for the fiscal year ended June 30.
The average endowment size among responding institutions was $495.9 million, while the median size was $90 million, said John D. Walda, NACUBO's president and CEO, during a conference call.
The average one-year return for the full 2011 universe as of June 30 was 19.2%, following on an average return of 11.9% the prior year.
In 2010, a larger and slightly different universe of 850 institutions responded to the survey. The recalculation of the aggregate assets of the 799 endowments that participated in both the 2011 and the 2010 surveys is $404 billion in 2011 and $342.2 billion for 2010, showing growth of 18.1% for the year ended June 30, William F. Jarvis, managing director and director of research for Commonfund, said in an e-mail.