Preliminary data gathered from 463 US colleges and universities for the 2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments indicate that returns were on average -0.3% (net of fees) for the year ending June 30.
This was a significant dip from 2011, when the average return was 19.2%. The largest endowments, with more than $1 billion in assets, saw the best returns in the survey, an average of 1.2%. Among the institutions that have participated so far in the survey, the highest return was 15.8% and the lowest was a loss of 9.5%.
Researchers say that perhaps the most significant trend in higher