Dartmouth College reports record high $5.7 billion endowment fund

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/18/2019 10:16:40 PM
Modified: 9/18/2019 10:36:34 PM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College this week reported just over 4% growth in its endowment for the fiscal year ending in June, failing to meet high returns reported over the last two years. However, revenue brought the fund to a record-high $5.7 billion and allows the school to commit more money to financial aid, according to a college news release.

“The impressive long-term performance of the endowment allows Dartmouth to support current and future generations of students, through direct aid, loan relief and tuition levels that are less than the true costs of a Dartmouth education,” college President Phil Hanlon said in the release.

The endowment, which represents wealth accumulated by Dartmouth from gifts and support, saw 10.8% growth in 2018 and 10.2% in 2017. Those increases followed a 1.9% loss in 2016, which officials largely attributed to investments.

But investments pushed growth in 2019, resulting in a 7.5% return, the release said.

By comparison, the fund saw a 12.2% return on investments last year and a 14.6% return in 2017, according to the college’s endowment reports.

Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence declined on Tuesday to provide details on the school’s current portfolio, which investments performed best or how the mix had changed since last year. More information is likely to come as part of an annual endowment report the college releases each spring.

In 2018, 37% of the college’s assets were invested in global equity, while 24% was in hedge funds and 20% went to venture capital and private equity, according to Dartmouth’s 2018 endowment report. The remaining 19% was split between natural resources, real estate, and “fixed income, cash & other.”

Of those, venture capital and private equity produced the best results, garnering 13.4% returns.

While the college didn’t say what caused its endowment growth to slow, officials signaled last year that the high figures seen in 2018 and 2017 aren’t likely to continue.

“While Dartmouth’s endowment has benefited from the past nine years of economic expansion, the recent pace of returns is above long-term expectations,” Dartmouth Chief Investment Officer Alice Ruth wrote in last year’s endowment report.

Dartmouth has seen a 10.7% return in investments over the past 10 years, according to Trustee Rick Kimball, who chairs the Board of Trustees’ investment committee.

“This strong performance will help keep Dartmouth on a solid footing for future generations,” he said in the college’s release.

College officials say they tapped $250 million of endowment funds to support priorities, including financial aid and faculty pay, within Dartmouth’s $1 billion 2019 operating budget. That figure is about $13 million more than in 2018.

About a quarter of Dartmouth’s annual operating budget comes from endowment funds.

The college said in March it intends to use $271 million from the endowment for the $1.083 billion 2020 operating budget, which took effect in June.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.




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