After two years of double-digit increases, the value of college and university endowments fell flat in 2012 as investments sputtered and returns failed to keep pace with the institutions' spending needs, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Bloomberg report.
The annual survey of more than 800 institutions by nonprofit investment manager Commonfund and the National Association of College and University Business Officers showed endowments collectively lost 0.3 percent of their value in the fiscal year that ended June 30. Schools' assets gained 19.2 percent in 2011 and 11.9 percent in 2010.
A nearly 12-percent decline in international equities was a major factor in the flat performance, according to the study. More than half of the surveyed colleges had higher operational costs last year, further eroding their endowments, and 39 percent said their fundraising was down.