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Endowment hits record high

Yale’s investments gained $4 billion last year, bringing the endowment to a record-high $23.9 billion after spending, the university announced today.

The 20.2 percent return in the year ending June 30 outstripped the 15.4 gain that Harvard announced a day earlier, although Harvard’s fund is still about 50 percent larger than Yale’s.

The bumper-year performance pushed Yale’s endowment above its previous peak of $22.9 billion in 2008. The financial crash that fall erased 24.6 percent of the endowment’s value. The past five years have brought returns ranging from less than 5 percent—which was more than wiped out by spending from the endowment—to nearly 22 percent.

Other endowment fun facts, from the Yale press release:

  • In the past decade, the endowment posted average annual returns of 11 percent, compared to an estimated average of 7.6 percent for colleges and universities.
  • Yale’s endowment distributions to the operating budget nearly doubled in that same decade.
  • Twenty years ago, the endowment stood at $3.5 billion. Average annual returns of 13.9 percent fueled its rise to the current $23.9 billion value.

David Swensen ’80PhD has headed Yale’s investment office since 1985. When he took office, the endowment was worth $1.3 billion.


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

Filed under endowment, David Swensen

1 comment

  • Martin Snapp
    Martin Snapp, 6:54pm September 24 2014 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Glad to know the endowment fund is doing so well. Now maybe AYA will have some money to spend on supporting the Yale College classes, in addition to the SIGS.

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