Wesleyan Endowments FAQ







  • Why is the endowment important?
    The endowment provides Wesleyan with resources that support the school’s academic mission, most importantly financial aid.
  • What return did the endowment have in fiscal year 2014?
    The endowment generated a 15.7% return in fiscal 2014, ending the year with a market value of $793.3 million.  The externally managed portion of the endowment, managed by the investments office, ended the year at $767.8 million, and produced a return of 15.8%
  • What percentage of Wesleyan's operating budget does the endowment fund?
    In fiscal year 2014 the endowment supported 16.0% of the operating budget.  In fiscal 2015, the University will spend $31.5 million from the endowment, contributing 16.0% of Wesleyan’s budget.
  • What is Wesleyan's spending policy?
    Wesleyan maintains two objectives with its spending rule: providing substantial, sustainable support for current operations; and maximizing the potential for intergenerational parity between Wesleyan’s current stakeholders and future beneficiaries. Wesleyan’s current spending rule, a variation of the “Tobin rule,” named for James Tobin, recipient of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Economics, was introduced in fiscal year 2014. The annual endowment payout is computed by adding 70% of the prior year distribution increased by inflation, plus 30% of 4.5% of the market value of the endowment as of June 30th of the previous fiscal year. Incorporating the previous year’s spending eliminates large fluctuations, enabling the University  to better plan its operating budget; while adjusting spending toward a long-term payout rate of 4.5% ensures that spending levels will be sensitive to volatile endowment levels, providing stability in long-term purchasing power.
  • Who sets endowment policy?

    Endowment policy is set by the Investment Committee with information and guidance from the Chief Investment Officer and her staff.

  • Why are gifts important to Wesleyan's endowment?

    Endowment growth depends on three factors: returns, spending withdrawals and donations. Schools that receive significant donations into endowment not only increase their competitive advantage immediately, but continue to maintain advantages over the long term through investment returns.

  • If I want to make a gift, whom should I contact?
    Your annual gift to the Wesleyan Fund provides crucial support for Wesleyan’s endowment.  To make a gift, please go to give.wesleyan.edu.   To learn about other ways of making a gift to Wesleyan, please contact Mark Davis ’96, Director of Gift Planning at 860-685-3660 or mdavis@wesleyan.edu, or Frantz Williams '99, Director of Development, at 860-685-2544 or fwilliams@wesleyan.edu