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Education endowment studies merge

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Two top studies analyzing the performance and management of the endowments of U.S. colleges and universities will be combined.

The National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Commonfund Institute will publish the first combined study in January 2010, reflecting results for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009.

The merger will create an improved tool for the higher-education community by providing more complete reporting and more accurate results, and will include data from nearly 1,000 institutions, says John Walda, president and CEO of NACUBO.

And the single source of information will cut down on the amount of time participating colleges and universities invest in responding to surveys, he says.

The new process will combine the NACUBO’s online-survey approach with Commonfund’s telephone interviews to broaden the number of institutions contacted and provide more detailed analysis of specific topics.

The first combined report will follow what could be a brutal year for higher-education endowments.

So far this year, anecdotal evidence suggests the average endowment is down about 25 percent, the two organizations say.

And while some schools are adjusting their asset mix in response to the drop, no industry-wide allocation shifts have emerged yet, says Verne Sedlacek, president and CEO of Commonfund.

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