Ohio

Eye on Education

Ohio State University Has the 31st Largest Endowment in the Nation

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Ohio State University’s endowment is among the 50 largest in the nation, according to a recent survey of more than 800 schools. But the university’s endowment grew less in the past year than those of many other similarly endowed schools.

The annual survey of college endowments and their returns is done by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Commonfund Institute. It looks at data from 823 U.S. public and private colleges and universities.

University endowments are groups of investments whose returns can be used to fund student scholarships and professor and researcher salaries, build new facilities and underwrite other school activities.

The good news from the survey was that, overall, university investments did better in 2011 than in 2010 or 2009.


Fiscal year 2011 2010 2009
Average Rate of Return 19.2% 11.9% -18.7%

The bad news was that current long-term rates of return may not be enough to keep pace with schools’ spending, as well as inflation and investment management costs, officials with the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Commonfund Institute said. Plus, the 2011 results don’t take into account the financial trends of the last part of 2011 — like the European debt crisis.

Harvard, Yale, the University of Texas System and Princeton have the largest endowments of the schools surveyed. Harvard’s endowment alone is worth more than $33 billion.

And being bigger is indeed better, the survey found:

Across the six groups, size and return were correlated—the larger the asset pool, the higher the 10-year average annual return.

Ohio State had an endowment of $2.1 billion, according to survey data. That’s about 13 percent more than the value of its 2010 endowment. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Ohio State saw a 13 percent rate of return on its investments: New contributions and withdrawals come into play too. (For 2010, Ohio State reported a 15.5 percent return.)

Here’s how other Ohio colleges and universities compare:

Ohio College and University Endowments

Ohio Rank  School National Rank % Change (2010-2011) Endowment (fiscal year 2011)
1 The Ohio State University 31 13.4%  $2,120,714,247
2 Case Western Reserve University 40 16.5%  $1,703,164,107
3 University of Cincinnati 74 13.3%  $1,004,367,733
4 Oberlin College 104 13.2% $699,895,497
5 Denison University 115 16.0% $654,583,912
6 University of Dayton 164 19.6%  $414,503,615
7 Miami University & Miami University Foundation 166 15.8%  $403,069,832
8 Ohio University and The Ohio University Foundation 202 21.2%  $335,999,726
9 The College of Wooster 238 10.6%  $247,480,052
10 Youngstown State University and Foundation 273 21.1%  $199,438,000

2011 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments | View survey data for all schools | Download data (csv) | Note: Some Ohio schools are not included in the survey.

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