Yale Becomes First Ivy League School to Report a Gain for Fiscal Year

By David G. Barry

Yale University became the first Ivy League school to report a gain for the 2021-22 fiscal year, doing so in Matt Mendelsohn’s first year as chief investment officer.

The New Haven, Conn., university said that it earned a 0.8% return, net of fees, but saw the value of its endowment decline from $42.3 billion on June 30, 2021, to $41.4 billion on June 30, 2022. Yale earned $266 million in investment gains but distributed $1.6 billion to the operating budget.

Yale is the fourth of the eight Ivy league schools to report their 2021-22 results. The University of Pennsylvania’s $20.7 billion endowment posted a 0.0% return, exceeding its composite benchmark return of negative 0.5%. Cornell University ended the fiscal year at $9.8 billion after reporting a negative 1.3% return that beat its strategic benchmark return of negative 5.1%. Dartmouth College, meanwhile, posted a negative 3.1%. It did not disclose its benchmark in a press release.

Harvard University, Brown University, Princeton University and Columbia University are expected to release their results over the next week.

Yale’s endowment is its largest source of revenue. Over the past decade, the university has spent $12.7 billion from the endowment.

Mendelsohn, who joined the Yale Investment Office in 2007, was named CIO in August 2021 following the death in May 2021 of the school’s legendary CIO of 35 years, David Swenson. For the decade ending June 30, Yale’s endowment returned 12% per annum, exceeding the mean 10-year return for college and university endowments by an estimated 3.4% per annum. Over the 20-year period, it has returned 11.3% per annum, exceeding the mean 20-year return for college and university endowments by an estimated 3.5% per annum.

In a statement, Mendelsohn said that “in such a volatile year for the world’s financial markets, we are pleased to have protected Yale’s capital. That said, we expect challenging times ahead as rising interest rates, inflation, and the geopolitical environment provide stiff headwinds.”