Date October 2, 2018
Media Contact

With 13.2 percent return, Brown endowment grows to record $3.8 billion

In the last fiscal year, the endowment contributed $163 million to the University, supporting strategic priorities ranging from financial aid to faculty research and more.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Driven by continued strength from global stock markets, Brown University’s endowment produced a 13.2 percent return for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2018, closing the period with a value of $3.8 billion, an all-time high.

During Fiscal Year 2018 — July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018 — the endowment contributed $163 million to the University’s operating budget, supporting a wide range of strategic priorities at Brown, including student financial aid, professorships, academic programs, teaching and research. The annual distribution represents approximately $17,000 per student and 15 percent of Brown’s operating budget.

“Brown’s endowment remains an essential factor in our ability to provide financial aid to students, fund high-impact research and innovative teaching, and advance scholarship on issues of importance to society,” said Barbara Chernow, executive vice president for finance and administration. “With a long-term mission to ensure financial stability, it is equally essential in sustaining the Brown experience for generations of students to come.”

Brown’s 13.2 percent return surpassed both the preliminary return of its benchmark portfolio (9.7 percent) and Cambridge Associates’ preliminary mean and median returns for colleges and universities (8.5 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively). Since 2012, the endowment has produced more than $1.7 billion in investment returns and contributed more than $1 billion to support Brown’s operating budget.

Jane Dietze, the University’s vice president and chief investment officer, said partners and colleagues both on the Brown campus and beyond are instrumental in the endowment’s continued strength.

“We are fortunate both to partner with outstanding investment managers who navigate the markets skillfully and to be guided by an Investment Committee of exceptionally knowledgeable investors,” Dietze said.

Dietze noted that the endowment is a foundational financial resource for the University, which is committed to ensuring that no student who aspires to attend Brown will encounter cost as a barrier. Helped by the endowment’s contribution of a significant portion of the financial aid budget on an annual basis, Brown meets the full demonstrated financial need of all students. For the incoming Class of 2022, 43 percent of students received need-based scholarships with an average award of $50,108.

Brown’s Investment Office manages the endowment with a dual mandate to protect and prudently grow its value over the long term and to ensure opportunities for future Brown students, Dietze added. Guided by this mandate, the endowment is conservatively invested in a diverse portfolio designed to accommodate a broad set of economic scenarios.

Annualized returns for Brown’s endowment for three, five, 10 and 20 years are 8.3, 9.2, 5.9 and 8.3 percent, respectively.