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Stanford endowment grows modestly despite poor investment climate

Stanford’s endowment grew 0.8 percent to $22.4 billion over the past fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2016, Stanford Management Company announced. The figure combines investment gains and losses, endowment gifts and other funds transferred into the endowment, offset by the annual payout for University operations.

Endowment growth occurred despite a -0.4 percent investment return net of fees from the Merged Pool, which nonetheless outperformed the -2.9 percent median preliminary return of U.S. colleges and universities and the portfolio’s -0.6 percent composite benchmark return. The Merged Pool is Stanford’s main investment vehicle, including most of the University’s endowment and expendable funds as well as capital reserves from Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

Randy Livingston, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer, told the Stanford Report that the endowment growth helps to support student financial aid, research and education programs.

“We are proud that a Stanford education is affordable for our middle-class admitted students,” Livingston said.

In fiscal year 2016, Stanford spent $450 million of University funds on student financial aid. Families living in the U.S. with incomes below $125,000 pay no undergraduate tuition. Over 75 percent of Stanford undergraduates graduate with no debt, while median debt among students who borrow was $16,417 in 2015.

The University’s endowment payout for the past fiscal year 2016 was $1.13 billion, or 5.1 percent of the beginning-of-year endowment value, representing about 22 percent of total operating revenue. Budgeted endowment payout for fiscal year 2017 is $1.18 billion.

Contact Fangzhou Liu at fzliu96 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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