When the PWIs have a cold, then HBCUs have pneumonia. That common saying in African America is as true today as it has ever been and among HBCU endowments in 2022 it reverberated across the landscape. Of the top ten HBCUs that reported their endowments to NACUBO that only two out of ten showed a positive gain versus three out of ten showing positive gains among PWIs. The caveat there is the top PWI endowments are all operating with a minimum of $15 billion. An amount that ranges from six times the size of all HBCU top ten endowments combined and all the way up to twenty four times the size of the top ten HBCU endowments combined by UTIMCO, the managing entity of the Texas A&M and University of Texas endowments. UTIMCO is actually $10 billion larger than Harvard’s endowment. It poses an interesting lesson that many HBCUs should consider – merging their endowments and/or foundations for economic and capital scale capabilities. Virginia State University and Norfolk State University. Prairie View A&M University and Texas Southern University. A really aggressive strategy of course would be to have endowments at the conference level, but that will be an article for another time.
2022 was a down year in the markets which inevitably had an outsized negative impact on HBCU endowments who are less likely to be invested in venture capital, private equity, or other alternative investments that hedge against the volatility of the stock markets. HBCU endowments limited capital usually means limited investment options and those options tend to be heavily tied to public equity markets. It also did not help that just a few years removed from George Floyd’s death when HBCUs saw over thirty million dollar plus donations that in 2022, HBCUs only saw a whopping three while their PWI counterparts had fourteen donations over $100 million.
Without HBCUs capturing more than ten percent of the African American students going to college, then this struggle is likely to persist. Simply put, HBCUs need much larger alumni pools to even start to put a dent in the endowment gap long term.
The PWI-HBCU Endowment Gap for 2022 stands at $127.5 to $1, which is an increase from 2021’s $121.7 to $1.
- Top 10 HBCU Endowment Total – $2.5 billion
- Top 10 PWI Endowment Total – $318.8 billion
- Number of PWIs Above $2 billion – 69
- Number of PWIs Above $1 billion – 136
- HBCU Median – $138.0 million (-8.4%)
- NACUBO Median – $208.7 million (-9.6%)
- HBCU Average – $217.9 million (-8.7%)
- NACUBO Average – $1.2 billion (-5.1%)
All values are in millions ($000)*
1. Howard University – $862,784 (7.0%)
2. Spelman College – $459,463 (-13.4%)
3. Hampton University – $348,849 (-8.2%)
4. Morehouse College – $186,523 (-9.7%)
5. Meharry Medical College – $169,169 (-9.5%)
6. North Carolina A&T State University – $164,541 (4.6%)
7. Florida A&M University – $111,477 (-6.3%)
8. Morgan State University – $89,516 (-8.5%)
9. Norfolk State University – $71,161 (-10.9%)
10. Virginia State University – $69,564 (-7.3%)
- The University of the Virgin Islands – $50,009 (-39.7%)
- Fayetteville State University – $31,971 (-3.0%)
*The change in market value does NOT represent the rate of return for the institution’s investments. Rather, the change in the market value of an endowment from FY21 to FY22 reflects the net impact of:
1) withdrawals to fund institutional operations and capital expenses;
2) the payment of endowment management and investment fees;
3) additions from donor gifts and other contributions; and
4) investment gains or losses.
Take a look at how an endowment works. Not only scholarships to reduce the student debt burden but research, recruiting talented faculty & students, faculty salaries, and a host of other things can be paid for through a strong endowment. It ultimately is the lifeblood of a college or university to ensure its success generation after generation.