According to TU’s financial audits, total endowment for 2014 surpassed $1 billion for the first time in school history.
Endowments typically pay out about 5 percent, which means that the University of Tulsa’s “endowment generates approximately $50 million per year toward our overall operating budget of more than $200 million,” according to Kevan Buck, our Executive Vice President and Treasurer.
An endowment is a fund to which supporters make tax-deductible donations. That money is then invested to increase its worth, and there is a small payout which the university can spend.
However, Buck points out that “endowment earnings are unique in that they must be expended based on the donors’ requests. Most of the funds are earmarked for scholarships, faculty chairs or specific support of departments, athletic activities, building construction or maintenance, etc.” The remaining funds can be treated as normal income.
Endowment has climbed nearly $300 million over the past 6 years. As visible from the graph, the exact number fluctuates widely.
Buck explained why: “As with any investment fund, TU’s endowment is subject to the vagaries of the financial markets. It is impossible to predict [future returns].
“For example, during the past three years, annual returns have varied from 1.5 percent to 15.4 percent … It is our hope that the endowment will continue to grow,” he said.
The recession caused a large drop from 2008 to 2009. Since 2000, TU’s endowment has never dropped below 700 million dollars.