The notion that colleges need to act more like businesses appeals to many people outside higher education and, especially in difficult financial times, to some trustees and state leaders. Efficiency, productivity, innovation -- all concepts that colleges and universities are all too often accused of lacking.
Preliminary study suggests that after steep drop in last half of 2008, college investments edged upward in first half of 2009. Overall decline in rate of return -- 19 percent -- would be biggest in 35 years.
In a twist on the old tale, the tortoise has won a sprint and the hare is leading the marathon. For the first time in the memory of most experts, colleges with small endowments ended the year with better returns than their elite counterparts, according to a survey released today by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and Commonfund. But while small colleges investing heavily in low-risk, low-return assets lost the least in 2009, they’ve still been outdone, on average, by the wealthiest colleges over the last decade.