University endowment returns net 53.2%, reaching $20.3 billion in June 2021
Observer Staff Report | Monday, January 31, 2022
Notre Dame’s endowment returned a net 53.2% for the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the 2021 annual report released by the University. The endowment’s year-end market value ended at $20.3 billion, the report said.
The endowment pool’s return for the last fiscal year was the second-highest one-year return in its history, driving net assets up from nearly $14.5 billion at the beginning of the fiscal year to $21.48 billion as of June 30. The 2021 fiscal year’s return nearly doubled the strategic policy portfolio’s 28.3% return, which acts as the internal benchmark for the endowment pool.
“Endowment funds, the payout from which provides a critical stream of annual operating resources for financial aid and other mission-related programs, are by far the main beneficiary of the [Endowment] Pool’s performance, but the return also augments charitable remainder trusts and assets held on behalf of the University’s religious affiliates invested in the Pool,” the report read.
The endowment pool has consistently outperformed the University’s strategic benchmark over the past two decades, with the five-year return of 17.4% and 20-year return of 10.6% outperforming the respective benchmarks of 10.5% and 6.2%.
As of June 30, 2021, 31.2% of the endowment pool’s investments were in public equities, 22.9% were allocated to the multi-strategy class and 45.9% were allocated to private equity, according to the report.
“The investment portfolio is highly diversified across strategies, sectors, and geographies with a high allocation to equities for growth to support University finances,” according to the report.
Executive vice president Shannon Cullinan wrote in the report that financial aid is the largest beneficiary of the endowment, with 42% of the operating endowment spending directed to student aid in fiscal year 2021.
“These resources have a transformational impact and allow us to fulfill our goal of attracting students who truly reflect the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of our Church, our nation, and our world,” Cullinan wrote.