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Conflicting Endowment Returns?

Buried in today's Sun article about this weekend Board of Trustee's meeting (and the approval of next year's tuition increase, important in its own right), was an interesting tidbit: In 2006, Cornell's endowment grew by 16.1 percent.

But just last week the National Association of College and University Business Officers released their annual study on university endowments. In their study, Cornell's endowment grew by 14.6 percent. Coincidentally, Cornell now has the 18th largest endowment in the country... it keeps on switching spots with Notre Dame).

Why the difference in reported endowment growth? I suspect that the answer may be pretty straight forward. The Sun's article probably reflects calendar year changes, while the NACUBO study reflects fiscal year (July 2005 - June 2006) growth. Unfortunately, the Sun article doesn't provide the current value of the endowment, but I would place it in the $4.5 billion range, not counting things like the University's pension fund, of course.

Of course, some people are probably asking: "Wait, hasn't the capital campaign already raised over a billion dollars... why isn't all that money reflected in the endowment?" It's easy to forget that most of the capital campaign's capital is going to be going towards physical capital, not financial capital. A lot of money is being poured into projects like the New Life Sciences Building and the West Campus Residential Initiative project.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on January 29, 2007 (#)

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