Emory University’s endowment grew to $7.87 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, an increase from $7.29 billion in the previous year, according to the NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments (NTSE). Emory’s endowment ranks No. 17 among the 774 NTSE-participating institutions in the United States and Canada.
The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), in collaboration with the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), published the annual report of university endowments in the U.S. and Canada on Jan. 30.
Emory’s endowment is the largest of any participating university in Georgia, with the Georgia Institute of Technology ranking second in the state and 50th nationally at $2.1 billion. The University of Georgia’s endowment ranked 85th nationally at $1.34 billion.
Endowment spending among surveyed institutions totaled $22.5 billion, an 8 percent increase from 2018. Institutions on average spent 49 percent of their endowments on student financial aid, according to the report.
Associate Director of Media Relations Elaine Justice declined to provide the Wheel with Emory-specific statistics on the University’s endowment spending.
Senior Director of Research and Policy Analysis at NACUBO Ken Redd told the Wheel that while the number of participating schools has been inconsistent from year to year, the survey’s 95 percent repeat participation rate provides stability for the collected data.
Redd said that the specific breakdowns of endowment spending are recent additions to the NTSE, adding that there have been significant “above-inflation” increases in endowment spending in the last 10 years, which Redd attributed to the rising tuition costs of higher education.
“The cost of college has been rising, and more and more families haven’t had the means to pay the listed cost, so there has been a greater demand for financial aid,” Redd said. “We have seen a lot of institutions increasing their spending from endowment to help support students.”
Schools with endowments greater than $1 billion reported returns of 9 percent over 10-year endowment investments.
This difference is historically accurate, according to Redd, who attributed the greater returns to larger institutions’ access to “more nuanced investment strategies” such as venture capital and private equity.
“Large endowed schools over time tend to do a little better in terms of their net returns — we saw that certainly this year and have seen it historically,” Redd said. “Large endowed schools tend to do anywhere between 3- and 5-tenths of a percentage point over 10 years, and that is a pretty big difference when compounded over a 10-year period.”