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This mandated report provides information about endowments that will help inform policymakers and others as they consider college and university endowment issues.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act 1 requires us to describe university endowments. To obtain this information, we analyzed information collected from not- for-profit private and public 4-year postsecondary educational institutions by the Department of Education 2 and reviewed documents and interviewed officials at 10 selected colleges and universities. We used a case-study methodology because information needed to address our second and third objectives was only available from records kept by individual colleges and universities. Dollar amounts for years prior to 2009 are adjusted for inflation and presented in 2009 dollars using the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Detailed information about our methodology can be found in appendix I. The framework requires that we plan and perform the engagement to obtain sufficient and appropriate evidence to meet our stated objectives and to discuss any limitations in our work.
We believe that the information and data obtained, and the analysis conducted, provide a reasonable basis for the findings and conclusions in this product.
Background Endowments are defined as institutional funds that, under the terms of a gift agreement, can not be entirely spent by the institution on a current basis. Typically, donors establish endowments to create a stable source of income for an institution, which invests the principal or original amount of the endowment gift and spends the earnings to support its operations. Donors can establish an endowment as either a true endowment — a fund whose principal cannot be spent by the institution, or as a term endowment — a fund whose principal may be spent after the passage of a 2 The Department of Education collects information on endowments and other matters from postsecondary educational institutions that participate in federal student aid programs. The fiscal year for two other schools runs from September 1 to August 31, and for one other school from June 1 to May 31.
Page 2 GAO-10-393 College and University Endowments certain amount of time or the occurrence of a certain event. True and best site to buy research papers term endowments are collectively referred to as donor-restricted endowments. In addition, institutions can establish quasi-endowments, also known as board-designated endowments. The institution can reverse the decision to create quasi- endowments and spend those funds in their entirety at any point in time.
Institutions can include quasi-endowments with true and term endowment funds when reporting their total endowment, and the Department of Education and the National Association of College and University Business Officers both ask that colleges and universities include quasi- endowment funds in the endowment totals they report in response to their surveys. When an institution establishes a quasi- endowment, it may also include a designation that the fund be restricted for a particular purpose, or the fund may have been originally given to the institution best site to buy research papers best site to buy research papers with a purpose restriction, which would remain in effect after its designation as an endowment.
Regardless of the best site to buy research papers party managing endowment investments, institutions pay management fees for this service.
Pooled endowment funds each own a number of shares in the pool in proportion with their size, and receive a periodic distribution per share, based on the distribution rate set by the institution. These distributions are paid to the holder of the endowment fund — such as the department or program for which the fund is restricted — for spending in accordance with the terms of the gift agreement. Endowments change in value over time through several inflows and outflows of assets, generally as shown in figure 1.
II through XI for more detailed descriptions of different endowment structures. Page 4 GAO-10-393 College and University Endowments endowments for tax purposes. Finally, in accounting for and reporting on endowments, schools must follow generally accepted accounting standards as a requirement of their annual financial audits.
When reporting on their endowments, accounting standards require schools to classify endowment assets according to how they are restricted.
Private schools classify the original gift amount that must be held in perpetuity by the school as permanently restricted, and public schools report such assets as restricted nonexpendable assets.
Endowment assets that the institution can spend but that are subject to restrictions on how or when they may be used are classified as temporarily restricted assets by private schools and restricted expendable assets by public schools. Endowment assets that are not subject to restrictions for how and when they may be used are classified as unrestricted assets by both private and public schools. Excess tax deductions for charitable contributions may be carried forward to future tax returns for 5 tax years.
Page 5 GAO-10-393 College and University Endowments Endowments Vary Greatly in Size and Grew during the Past 20 Years despite Occasional Declines Endowment Size Varies among Institutions, with Many Small and a Few Very Large Ones U.
In accordance with FASB Statement 157 and GASB Statement 31, institutions report endowment assets at their fair value.
The Statements say that the fair value of an investment is the price that would be paid in a current transaction best site to buy research papers between willing participants. Page 6 GAO-10-393 College and University Endowments Figure 2: Number of U. Institutions of Higher Education by Total Endowment Assets, 2008 Number of institutions 1,000 End-of-year endowment market value, 2009 dollars Source: GAO analysis of Department of Education data. In most cases, schools with relatively large total endowments also have relatively large endowments per student.