University’s endowment fund reaches $2.8 billion

Correction: A graphic in a front page article, âÄúUniversityâÄôs endowment fund reaches $2.8 billion,âÄù in MondayâÄôs Daily incorrectly labeled the Big Ten endowment funds as millions. The amounts are in billions.

>The 2007 NACUBO Endowment Study

24th – Minnesota’s ranking in the national study

$2.8 billion – size of Minnesota’s endowment fund at the end of fiscal year 2007

$251 million – amount of gifts fundraised by the University of Minnesota Foundation and University of Minnesota Medical Foundation in FY 2007 (includes “now” gifts, endowment contributions, and future gifts)

4.6% – percent of endowment spent by the University in 2007. This number is on par with the national average for endowment assets of over $1 billion dollars.

What is an endowment fund?

The University endowment is made up of three funds: the University endowment, the University of Minnesota Foundation fund and the Minnesota Medical Foundation. Gifts for the endowment fund are gifts designated for long-term programming and are invested over time. Donors can specify how they would like their donation to be used.

Not all gifts to the University are included in the endowment fund, Director of Communications for the University of Minnesota Foundation Martha Douglas said. Some donors prefer an “outright” donation, which means the donation would be used immediately.

Senators challenge college leaders:

136 letters to the colleges with the highest endowments were sent from U.S. Senate Finance Committee leaders Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) Thursday. The letters charged the leaders of the college to submit data and analysis on the number of enrolled students each year, estimated and actual costs to attend the school, information on financial aid, tuition increases, endowment management, investment management, percent of the endowment spent each year, and compensation associated with campus presidents and endowment managers.

“Tuition has gone up, college presidents’ salaries have gone up, and endowments continue to go up and up,” Grassley said in a press release with the text of the letter . “It’s fair to ask whether a college kid should have to wash dishes in the dining hall to pay his tuition when his college has a billion dollars in the bank.”

What the University said:

University spokesman Daniel Wolter released a statement via e-mail with the University’s reaction to the rankings:

“The improvement in our national ranking on the size of the University’s endowment is very good news and reflects well on the institution. For years, we’ve been focused on increasing private giving to boost funding for scholarships, academic chairs and a variety of other projects. With declining state support, the use of endowments is an ever-increasing necessity in financing higher education.”