University of Arkansas endowment reaches $1 billion

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 406 views 

University of Arkansas endowment holdings have reached more than $1 billion, a record high for the school, according to a press release sent  by the UA on Thursday (Oct. 12).

The press release stated, “only a select group of colleges and universities in the United States have achieved similar milestones …” The UA attributed growth in the endowment to the capital initiative Campaign Arkansas and “an impressive rate of return during the past fiscal year.”

As of June 30, the end of fiscal year 2017, investments managed by the UA Foundation totaled $996 million. Since then, additional gifts, including $110 million from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation to the School of Art, pushed the total over the $1 billion mark, according to the university. The endowment also had an “impressive rate of return of 15.4%” in fiscal year 2017.

“This is a major milestone and to be celebrated because the health of our endowment is an indicator of future success and security for the university,” Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz said in the press release. “The endowment is our nest egg, our insurance that we can continue to provide scholarships and fellowships, support the excellent work of faculty, and keep programs thriving regardless of external forces. It’s more important than ever to have a strong endowment as we aim to keep tuition as low as possible and redouble student success efforts.”

The university’s endowment provides support for facilities, scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty chairs and professorships, and academic programs.

The UA said its endowment management method means the programs will be supported perpetually. “The university’s goal in endowment management is to invest endowed gifts so they maintain their value in real terms over time. The university invests the initial gift and spends only a portion of the average annual investment return. The remaining income is added to the principal as protection against inflation. These funds are often earmarked for specific purposes and are used in accordance with guidelines agreed upon by the university and its donors.”

Campaign Arkansas started July 1, 2012, and will end June 30, 2020. The goal of the private gift campaign is “to raise $1 billion to support academic and need-based scholarships, technology enhancements, new and renovated facilities, undergraduate, graduate and faculty research, study abroad opportunities and other innovative programs.,” according to the UA.

According to a September analysis by U.S. News & World Report, Harvard University had the largest endowment in the U.S. at the end of fiscal 2016, totaling $35.6 billion. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was No. 5 on the list with $13.1 billion, and the University of Notre Dame was No. 10 with an endowment of $8.7 billion.