Drop in UC Endowments Follows National Trend

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The University of California was no exception to a nationwide drop in endowment values, seeing a 20 percent devaluation in the Board of Regents' General Endowment Pool, according to a report published last week.

The dire economy has affected university endowments throughout the nation, which averaged a loss of 18.7 percent in the last fiscal year, according to a study by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute.

UC Berkeley's endowment saw a 16 percent drop in the last fiscal year, according to the report. The University of California, Berkeley Foundation, the campus endowment, dropped from $907 million for the 2007-08 fiscal year to $759 million in fiscal year 2008-09.

Systemwide, the UC's systemwide endowment fund saw a more severe drop, from $9.6 billion in the 2007-08 fiscal year to $7.8 billion in the 2008-09 fiscal year, according to UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez. But he added that financial markets have improved since the fiscal year ended in June, and the endowment is now over $8 billion.

The UC systemwide endowment includes both the regents' general endowment pool and the 10 individual campus pools.

Larger endowments such as Harvard University's $36.5 billion endowment-which fell to approximately $25 billion-saw larger drops due to a dependence on economically volatile hedge funds, according to the report.

UC Berkeley's endowment saw a less severe drop due to its smaller size, though it has grown in recent years since being founded in 1948, according to campus spokesperson Jose Rodriguez.

"Compared to say Harvard or Yale that have had a long history of large endowments, Berkeley is still relatively young," he said.

Javier Panzar covers higher education.Contact him at [email protected]

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