Private, alumni investment amounts increase

Ryan Loew

Endowments up nearly 35 percent

Kent State has gone above and beyond a national trend of upward soaring endowments, receiving a 34.8 percent increase in its endowed scholarship returns from 2003 to 2004.

Endowments, or monetary gifts from alumni, saw a national gain of 15.1 percent in 2004, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. The average return for 2003 was 3 percent.

In 2003, Kent State gained $47,852 in endowments, while in 2004 the university received $64,498. This translates into more scholarship money and better academic programs, said David Creamer, vice president of administration.

“Last year was a good year if you were investing with private investments,” Creamer said. “And most colleges and universities are actively pursuing gift giving on a continuing basis.”

Universities that invest significantly in alternative assets such as private equity, stocks and hedge funds saw a greater gain in endowment returns, The Chronicle reported.

Last year Kent State was investing 15 percent in alternative assets, while last week the Board of Trustees voted to increase those investments to 40 percent of its asset allocations.

“We have a really good investment committee, so we saw an above average return,” said Kathy Stafford, vice president of University Relations and Development. “And then because of our fundraising efforts we’ve had more to invest.”

Steve Sokany, associate vice president for University Development, said that while the sum of money the university can use from endowments may not be as large as one would think, it does mean more money for students.

“If you look at how much money is spun off a $65,000 endowment and compare it to the university’s budget, it’s very small,” he said. “From year to year, students are going to see an increase in the number of scholarships they can apply for. Scholarships are the most tangible way students will see a benefit from endowments.”

Such success has been a trend for Kent State, Sokany said.

“We measure (success) in benchmarks,” he said. “We’ve beaten our benchmarks in five of the past eight years.”

Contact administration reporter Ryan Loew at [email protected].