Endowment Shows Strong Earnings in 2017 Fiscal Year

By NICOLE POLLACK

Middlebury’s endowment increased by $74 million in the 2017 fiscal year after an investment return of 13.8 percent, ending the year totaling $1.074 billion.  This year’s figure represents an improvement over the previous year’s return rate of −4.5 percent.

Middlebury withdrew $68.5 million from its endowment last year, which funded the college, the Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Middlebury Language Schools, Schools Abroad, the School of the Environment, the Bread Loaf School of English and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

In an April 2017 article entitled “Rises in Financial Aid Cause Deficits,” The Campus reported that recent budget deficits had compelled the college to cut spending and attempt to raise endowment funds. Escalating financial aid expenditures were largely responsible for the deficits.

While Middlebury aims to admit classes with approximately 42 percent of students on financial aid, this percentage has risen significantly in recent years as a result of the adoption of a need-blind admissions process. Roughly 48 percent of the classes of 2018 and 2019 receive financial aid.

Although the rise in expenses initially caused budgetary strain, Middlebury opted to remain need-blind and reduce spending in other areas.

College treasurer David Provost noted that this year’s endowment gains will not drastically increase financial aid money specifically, and that the college will continue to rely on gifts to fund financial aid.

“This [year’s gain] is compared to a net decrease in endowment of −$100 million in 2015 to 2016. So any one year investment return will not necessarily provide new sources of funds for financial aid,” he said in an email.

“Having said that, financial aid continues to grow at a higher rate (8.5%) than tuition and fees (5%), and we expect that to continue.  The long-term strategy has to be that we grow the endowment specifically from gifts for financial aid, and President Patton is committed to leading us in that direction.”

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