Princeton endowment earns 11.7 percent return, 10-year average grows

Princeton University's endowment earned an 11.7 percent investment gain in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, with the 10-year annualized return increasing to 10.2 percent. The endowment value stood at $18.2 billion, an increase of about $1.2 billion from the previous year.

The results were certified on Oct. 17, 2013, during a meeting of the directors of Princeton University Investment Co. (PRINCO), the University office that manages the University's endowment.

The 10-year average return on the endowment places the endowment among the top percentile of 491 institutions reporting to the Trust Universe Comparison Service.

"The continued strong performance of our endowment investments under PRINCO enables the University to provide support for its priorities, including our commitment to generous financial aid that makes Princeton's education affordable to any student who is admitted, regardless of ability to pay and without the need for loans," Princeton University Provost David Lee said. "Our scholarship budget has grown to $121.4 million this year, and about 60 percent of undergraduates receive financial aid.”

Princeton's scholarship spending has outpaced fee increases for a decade, and the average "net cost" for Princeton students today is lower than it was in 2001, even before adjusting for inflation, Lee said.

The spend rate on the endowment during the past fiscal year was well within the University’s current spend rule of between 4 percent and 5.75 percent.

Lee said the University will continue to manage growth carefully to ensure that the University remains within the optimum spend rate.