N.C. colleges see investments spike

Average investment returns for the endowments of North Carolina colleges and universities hit 11.1 percent in fiscal 2010, reversing a negative trend, but didn’t reach the national average of 11.9 percent, a new study says.

Twenty-three North Carolina schools were included in the NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments, an analysis of investment practices of 850 institutions throughout the U.S.

Elon University posted the state’s highest return of 23.4 percent for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, followed by Johnson C. Smith University, with 21.6 percent; Western Carolina University, 20.6 percent; Davidson College, 15.8 percent; and Warren Wilson College, 14.7 percent.

Duke University, which holds the state’s largest educational endowment, totaling $4.8 billion, earned 8.6 percent on its investments during fiscal 2010.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s endowments totaled $1.98 billion and earned 3.9 percent in fiscal 2010, while Wake Forest University’s endowment totaled $937.6 million and posted a return of 6 percent.

Harvard University boasts the largest endowment of any school in the U.S., worth $27.6 billion, and earned 5.4 percent on its investments in fiscal 2010.

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