Report: Local college and university endowments grew in fiscal 2017 across the board

THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND FOUNDATIONS' endowment grew at the fastest rate of any local college from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017 at 16.8 percent. / COURTESY URI
THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND FOUNDATIONS' endowment grew at the fastest rate of any local college from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017 at 16.8 percent. / COURTESY URI

PROVIDENCE – The endowment of every college and university in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Mass., increased in value by more than 7 percent in the fiscal 2017 period, outperforming the median endowment change of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017, according to data from the National Association of College and University Business Officers, and Commonfund Institute.

The median endowment of United States’ higher educational institutions increased 6 percent year over year from $123.5 million to $130.9 million. The calculation includes the effects on total endowments of institutional withdrawals for operational and capital expenses, payment of management and investment fees, donor gifts and other contributions, and investment gains or losses.

Unsurprisingly, the largest endowment in the area remained Brown University. Brown’s endowment increased 9.5 percent year over year in fiscal 2017 to $3.2 billion from $3 billion on 2016. Brown’s endowment was ranked No. 30 as largest endowment in the U.S. and Canada.

The Rhode Island School of Design had the second largest endowment in the area at $329.5 million, and posted an 8.6 percent year-over-year increase from 2016’s $303.4 million. RISD ranked No. 243 for largest endowment in the U.S and Canada.

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Johnson & Wales University had the third largest endowment in the area with $255.9 million, an 8.6 percent increase year over year from 2016’s $238.9 million. JWU ranked No. 274 for largest endowment in the U.S. and Canada.

Other endowments in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Mass.:

  • Providence College – No. 298: PC’s 2017 endowment totaled $221.1 million, a year-over-year increase of 11.3 percent.
  • Wheaton College – No. 313: Wheaton’s endowment was $205 million in 2017, an 11 percent increase.
  • Stonehill College – No. 325: Stonehill’s 2017 endowment totaled $194.1 million, an increase of 8.6 percent.
  • Bryant University – No. 347: Bryant’s 2017 endowment totaled $174.2 million, a 9.8 percent increase.
  • University of Rhode Island Foundation – No. 390: URI’s endowment grew 16.8 percent year over year, more than any other higher institution in the area, to $145.6 million.
  • Roger Williams University – No. 507: RWU’s endowment totaled $85.1 million in 2017, a 7.4 percent increase.
  • Salve Regina University – No. 592: Salve Regina’s endowment in 2017 was $59.9 million, a 11 percent increase.
  • Rhode Island College Foundation – No. 740: RIC’s endowment grew at the second fastest rate in 2017, with 15.2 percent growth to $24.7 million.
  • The University of Massachusetts Foundation Inc. had a total endowment of $819.7 million in 2017, an 11.6 percent increase from one year prior. In aggregate, the UMass endowment was ranked No. 127 for largest endowment in the U.S. and Canada. This fund includes the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.