2011 Endowment Report Published

The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) recently released its Commonfund Study of Endowments, which covers schools in the United States and Canada.

According to the report, Swarthmore’s fiscal year 2011 endowment was $1,508,483,000, up 20.8% from 2010. This amounts to $989,169.180 per student. If that seems large, it is, but it’s lower than in recent years, when the endowment surpassed a million dollars per student.

Compared to other schools, Swarthmore’s one-and-a-half billion dollars gives it the forty-eighth largest endowment. Harvard tops the list at over thirty-one billion dollars; the next highest, Yale, has only two-thirds as much, at about nineteen billion dollars.

It’s difficult to compare per-student endowments across every school—the tiniest schools don’t appear in the NACUBO report—Swarthmore ranks twelfth in the Gazette’s back-of-a-napkin estimation, just behind Pomona. Swat also trails Rice, University of Chicago, Cal Tech, MIT, Stanford, and the “Big Three” of the Ivy League on a per capita basis. Swarthmore has more money per student than Amherst, Grinnell, and Williams and beats Carleton by a long shot.

Bryn Mawr has $671,103,000 in total and about $513,468 per student, while Haverford has $402,730,000 and $210,853 per student.

The NACUBO report is available here.

One comment

  1. Y. Johnson

    There might have been a mistake with some of the “back-of-a-napkin” math here. I recently did a bit of research for a report on the subject of per-student endowment figures, and Swarthmore definitely holds a place in the uppermost ranks of institutions in the U.S.

    For instance, Swarthmore does *not* trail the University of Chicago or Rice. In fact, those institutions’ per-student endowment numbers are fractions of Swarthmore’s figure, which is actually on par with a school like MIT or Stanford (give or take a few tens of thousands–and a few robotics laboratories). Perhaps some of the calculations for this post used undergraduate-only enrollment numbers for the institutions listed, but the proper count should be an inclusive enrollment figure (professional and graduate school enrollments are in many of these cases much larger than undergraduate matriculation).

    The measures of per-student endowment and per-student spending can become a bit more fuzzy, of course, since natural science programs, research, engineering schools, and graduate students are by many measures much more costly than, say, an undergraduate Greek major or a business school student. Then again, for some people that is all the more reason why full enrollment numbers should be considered when seeking to determine a degree of parity between the per-student endowment of a small liberal arts college like Amherst or Swarthmore and that of a bigger research institution such as Harvard or MIT. Total enrollment, in any case, is certainly the most accurate and widely used figure for a per-student endowment calculation, if for no other reason than it is the true per capita number.

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