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College Hall on Sept. 20, 2022. Credit: Savanna Cohen

Penn’s endowment saw a less than 1% return for the 2022 fiscal year ending June 30, posting an annual increase from $20.5 billion to $20.7 billion. 

The $20.7 billion endowment return exceeded the composite benchmark return of -0.5% for the period. Penn’s total endowment assets increased by $200.8 million over the 2022 fiscal year, reaching $20.7 billion as of June 30. Of this amount, approximately $16.1 billion supports the University and $4.6 billion supports the University of Pennsylvania Health System, according to the annual report from the Penn Office of Investments.  

According to a report by Pensions and Investments, the significant decrease in return from the previous year reflects the “challenging market environment for the period.” The Office of Investments credited the impact of financial gifts, investment returns, spending distributions, and internal transfers with fueling the endowment’s growth.

Penn’s endowment includes over 7,400 individual endowment funds that benefit the University’s schools, centers, and health system. The majority of the endowment goes towards instruction, with student aid, health care, and research following behind.   

For the 2021 fiscal year, the endowment posted a record 41.1% return in a year of record high stock markets and gains in private equity. The Office of Investments cited "pandemic-driven needs and opportunities" as increasing the target endowment spending rate in the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years. 

Penn’s endowment has consistently outperformed its composite benchmark for the past twenty years. The endowment has returned an annualized 11.9% and 11.1% over the past five and ten years, respectively, according to the Office of Investments. 

Among the 13 universities that Pensions and Investments tracked in the 2022 fiscal year, the median return is -4.1%. Penn is one out of the five institutions tracked that posted non-negative returns for 2022. 

In response to a request for comment, Associate Director for News Amanda Mott directed the Daily Pennsylvanian to a statement about the endowment from the Office of Investments.

"Penn’s endowment supports a wide range of purposes across the institution, with the significant majority of funds dedicated to student financial aid and instructional use,” the office wrote in a statement.