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Understanding College and University Endowments

December 10, 2014

Tufts University
Photo courtesy of Tufts University​


​A new ACE publication, Understanding College and University Endowments, outlines the importance of these funds in helping institutions support their educational missions and answers frequently asked questions about their purpose and use.

The paper explains that an institution’s endowment actually is made up of hundreds—or even thousands—of separate funds, often created from individual charitable gifts, and that institutions are legally bound to spend these gifts in the manner prescribed by the donor.

The paper answers questions such as how an endowment is created, how institutions balance present and future needs in managing their endowments and how the funds generated are used.

It also notes that most public colleges and universities do not have a substantial endowment, and that 54 percent of private institutions have endowments of less than $10 million.

To download the paper, click here.

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