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Date published: 2/6/2013
RICHMOND--Several Virginia colleges and universities saw gains in the market value of their endowments last year despite poor returns nationally, according to a new report.
The study by the National Association of College and University Business Officers shows the value of Virginia Commonwealth University's endowment jumped by more than 25 percent, the most of any Virginia school. The value of Washington & Lee's endowment grew by 3.6 percent.
The University of Virginia endowment's value grew 0.6 percent. But media outlets say the report doesn't reflect all investments.
Those defy national figures that show college endowments slipped 0.3 percent last fiscal year, following a 19.2 percent surge in fiscal 2011.
"So that's obviously a huge swing," Kenneth E. Redd, director of research and policy analysis at the association, told The Daily Progress.
Redd added that while the latest figures are disappointing, "endowments are designed to last into perpetuity."
That may soften the blow for some Virginia schools whose endowments didn't perform as well.
The Virginia Military Institute Foundation endowment's value dropped 9.3 percent, while the Virginia Tech Foundation endowment's value declined 1 percent. The University of Richmond endowment's value dropped half a percent.
The big source for new endowment money is gifts, which were mixed in the most recent year, Redd said. Colleges garnered a nationwide average of about $8 million in new gifts for endowments, while a third reported a decline in gifts, he said.
At VCU, major gifts helped the school show the largest endowment increase in Virginia, rising from $349.7 million to $438.1 million. Major gifts included a $45 million bequest from the Glasgow trusts and $25 million from philanthropists James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin. The school also consolidated its investment portfolios, which helped add to the figures.
The Medical College of Virginia Foundation's endowment value rose 16.3 percent, from $256.4 million to $298.2 million.
The report lists U.Va.'s endowment as the 19th largest in the nation, behind the likes of Cornell, Duke and the University of Michigan. Harvard's endowment, the largest, dipped by more than 4 percent to about $30.4 billion, according to the report.
The report said U.Va.'s endowment--The biggest in the state--increased from $4.76 billion in the prior year to $4.79 billion last fiscal year. However, U.Va. reported that the long-term pool was worth $5.59 billion for the quarter ending Sept. 30 because the school includes the endowment itself and a number of other accounts it controls, such as those belonging to U.Va.-affiliated foundations.
The market value of UR's endowment dropped by 0.5 percent to $1.868 billion from $1.877 billion in fiscal 2011, the report said.
Washington and Lee, the third Virginia school with a billion-dollar endowment, rose to $1.26 billion from $1.21 billion.