Kent State plans to quadruple university endowment in 2016

Caleigh Marten

Big changes are in the works for Kent State’s endowment, which include plans to quadruple the current amount.

Kent State’s endowment is currently reported to be around $118 million— the highest it’s ever been, said Jeff McLain, vice president for institutional advancement.

 “An endowment is about our future,” he said. “New management has been brought in and changes are in the works.”

McLain said that “endowment is like a savings account”— the interest grows, and then only those funds are spent.

He said the available interest is calculated to know how many scholarships are available; therefore, a bigger endowment is better.

The responsibility of the endowments lies with consultants and staff, which include a committee that provide direction when dealing with investments.

Findings from the 2014-2015 Institutional Advancement Annual report that $13.97 million were committed to the universit and $3.9 million in scholarships were awarded in 2015.

According to the article, “Endowments Fall to Earth” on, “On average, colleges had 2.4 percent returns for the 2015 fiscal year, according to an annual survey by Commonfund and the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The survey includes data from 812 U.S. colleges and universities.”

When comparing Kent State’s endowed assets from the Annual Report, Kent State’s numbers increased from $90.4 million in 2011 to $115.9 in 2015.   While improvements are evident, the overall goal of the university remains the same.

The donated money for scholarships goes to wherever the donor wishes.  

“We are a donor directed organization, so the donor decides where that money goes,” McLain said.

2015 endowment numbers for the Akron University, $206 million, and The Ohio State University’s, $3.634 billion, are significantly higher than Kent State’s numbers. However, there has not been a lot of emphasis in the past to increase it.

McLain said “There hasn’t been a big endowment focus in the past, therefore President Warren wants to double and triple our endowment.”

He also explained that the president wants it to be a focus in the new rebranding campaign.

In November 2015, President Warren said in her State of the University Address:  “You have heard me promise to dance on Risman Plaza when we reach the goals of an 85-percent, first-year retention rate and a 65-percent, six-year graduation rate. And you have heard me challenge our community to double our research funding and quadruple our endowment. These are all laudable goals. But I want you to know that I am ready, willing and eager to consider and work with you toward even bigger dreams — dreams that are as bold as they come!”