The Worth of Endowments in Higher Education
U.S. colleges and universities hold more than $500 billion in endowment assets, but many people have a poor grasp of these assets’ purpose and value.
Endowments enable colleges and universities to fund a portion of their work continuously, generation after generation. Yet little is done to help the public understand how endowment funds are solicited from donors, applied to expenses and stewarded over time. This brief, produced by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) with support from the TIAA Institute, describes how trustees can inform public debate on endowments, clear up misperceptions – and, in so doing, enhance higher education’s reputation broadly. The brief is part of AGB's The Guardians Initiative: Reclaiming the Public Trust.