The Ivy Coach Daily

January 23, 2024

2023 Ivy League Endowment Returns

Soldiers Memorial Gate is featured at Brown University.
Brown’s endowment fund managers outpaced their peers around the Ivy League in Fiscal Year 2023.

2023 was not a banner year for the eight Ivy League endowments. Over the years, we’ve become accustomed to reporting that the funds in the eight Ivy League coffers, much like the total number of applications to these schools just about every year, go up, up, and away. And while applications soared at multiple Ivy League institutions in the Early Action/Decision round for this year’s applicants to the Class of 2028, no all-time records were set by the fund managers of the Ivy League endowments during this fiscal year.

So, which Ivy League endowments performed the best in 2023? Which performed the worst? Let’s find out!

Ranking of 2023 Ivy League Endowment Performance

1. Brown University: $6.6 Billion

With solid returns from the stock market yet more modest returns from alternative investments, Brown’s endowment rose 12.7% in Fiscal Year 2023 (a period that closed on June 30, 2023). With this return, the endowment rose from $6.5 billion in FY 2022 to $6.6 billion in FY 2023.

2. Columbia University: $13.64 Billion

Columbia’s endowment rose 4.7% during FY 2023. The return wasn’t exactly on par with the Ivy League institution’s ten-year return, which stands at 8%.

3. Cornell University: Just Over $10 Billion

Cornell’s endowment rose 3.6% for a gain of $355 million during FY 2023. It was a nice bounce back from a year in which Cornell’s endowment slipped 1.3% (although that FY 2022 slip followed a 41.9% climb in FY 2021).

4. Harvard University: $50.7 Billion

Harvard’s endowment, the largest of the Ivy League schools, returned 2.9%, or $1.3 billion, in FY 2023, though distributions to university operations led to a fall in the fund’s total value from $50.9 billion to $50.7 billion.

5. Princeton University: $34.1 Billion

Princeton’s endowment generated a 1.7% loss in FY 2023. The average annual return for the Ivy League school’s endowment over the last ten years has been 10.8%. Over the last 20 years, the same figure has stood at 10.5%.

6. Yale University: $40.7 Billion

Yale’s endowment returned 1.8%, or $759 million, in FY 2023, though distributions to university operations led to a fall in the fund’s total value from $41.4 billion to $40.7 billion. The average annual return for the Ivy League school’s endowment over the last 20 years has been 10.9%.

7. Dartmouth College: $7.9 Billion

Dartmouth’s endowment climbed 1.6% in FY 2023. Over the past five years, Dartmouth’s annualized return has been 10.8%. Over the past ten years, its return has been 10.7%. Over the past 20 years, its annualized return has been 10%.

8. University of Pennsylvania: $21 Billion

Penn’s endowment climbed 1.3% during FY 2023, an increase of $238.6 million. The school’s annualized return has been 9.5% over the last five years, 9.7% over the last ten years, and 8.8% over the last 20 years.

Brown’s Return Leads the Ivies in FY 2023

While Harvard’s $1.3 billion return outpaced its Ivy League peers, it’s only because the school has the largest endowment — by a sizable margin — of the Ivies. When considering only the return for FY 2023, Brown outpaced its Ivy League peers by a wide margin. Its 12.7% return in a not-so-hot fiscal year far outpaced its closest rival, Columbia’s, return of 4.7%.

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