A robust 16.2 percent return on investment helped boost Lawrence University’s endowment to an institutional-record high of $249.5 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014 according to recently released audited financial statements.

Endowment_newsblog
Lawrence’s endowment helps support one of the country’s lowest student-faculty ratios.

Last year’s return was more than 4 percentage points higher than both the return for the 2012-13 fiscal year (11.9 percent) and Lawrence’s five-year average return of 12 percent. The endowment stood at $212.4 million on June 30, 2013.

“Our return on investment reflects a strong market performance and a great portfolio balance designed by our investment committee and advisors,” said Christopher Lee, vice president for finance and administration.

Lawrence’s endowment helps to fund operations critical to the university’s educational mission, including academic programs and student financial aid programs that enable Lawrence to remain affordable and accessible to all qualified admitted students. Distributions from Lawrence’s endowment supported 17 percent of the university’s operating costs in the last fiscal year.

“The cost of a high-quality education is often at odds with the affordability of that education,” said Lee. “Lawrence’s engaged learning experience requires a diverse and highly qualified faculty. Our 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio ensures that students get the attention and expertise they need to prepare for well-rounded lives and careers. This is not an inexpensive undertaking.”

The cost basis of a Lawrence education for the 2013-14 academic year was approximately $41,000 per student.

“Through the generosity of our donors, the returns on our investments, grants and other revenues, our students paid an average of $27,000, 35 percent less than actual costs,” said Lee. “We are committed to sustaining the high quality of the Lawrence experience while continuing to seek funding that reduces the burden of that cost on our students and their families.”

Last month, Lawrence announced a school-record $25 million anonymous gift to establish an endowed scholarship. As a matching gift, it will eventually add $50 million to Lawrence’s endowment and provide for the financial need of at least 50 students each year in perpetuity.

For the current academic year, Lawrence provided $33.4 million in institutional financial aid. Ninety-six percent of Lawrence students are receiving need and/or merit based financial aid for the 2014-15 academic year. Twenty-two percent of Lawrence students are currently receiving federal Pell Grants, which are awarded to undergraduates from low-income families with the highest need.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.