Skip to content
Subscriber Only

College Endowments Lost 13% in First-Quarter Pandemic Rout

  • One-fourth of private schools plan to borrow against funds
  • Nacubo-TIAA survey focuses on financial impact of coronavirus
U.S. Colleges Brace for a Devastating Summer And Fall
Photographer: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg
Updated on

College endowments lost 13.4% on average in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic slammed global markets.

U.S. schools with smaller endowments suffered deeper declines than those with larger funds, according to survey results released Friday by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA.

“Those smaller endowments had strong returns in a strong stock market but are at greater risk for investment losses when equity markets decline,” the researchers said. “The upside is that those institutions were, in all likelihood, less reliant on their endowments as a significant source of operating revenue.”

Colleges across the country are grappling with the economic impact of the virus, as they sent students home in March, forgoing room and board revenue. Schools are laying off and furloughing employees with finances uncertain and some students putting off enrollment. The health crisis sent the S&P 500 stock index plunging 20% last quarter, the biggest drop since 2008.