SUNY Oswego endowment shows strong returns, outperforms peers


March 22, 2018

The Oswego College Foundation’s endowment continues to outperform not only peer schools, but the industry average as well, according to the survey results of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)-Commonfund Study of Endowments.

SUNY Oswego’s endowment has yielded stronger returns than the NACUBO average for the past 11 years and 14 out of 15 years. With a net rate of return at 12.4 percent, Oswego was two-tenths of a percentage point higher than the NACUBO average of 12.2 percent for 2017.

Oswego’s 10-year rate of return of 6.7 percent yielded 2.1 percent more than the NACUBO average, 2.2 percent more than its peer group of colleges with endowments of $25 million to $50 million, and 1.7 percent more than its aspirational peers with endowments valued over $1 billion.

This rate of return figure is significant because it is a key factor in determining how much money the Oswego College Foundation will pay out for its more than 350 privately endowed scholarships and its dozens of endowed funds.

"We are so fortunate to have a stellar group of alumni volunteers on the Oswego College Foundation Investment Committee who, in conjunction with President Deborah F. Stanley and finance director Mark Slayton, have astutely guided our endowment’s asset allocations," said Mary Gibbons Canale, the college's vice president for development and alumni relations and a 1981 alumna. "These returns enable us to maintain our significant support for students and their learning experiences that happen inside and outside of the classroom. This report signifies to our thousands of loyal donors that we are stewarding their gifts very carefully to ensure the biggest impact on our students’ experiences."

This latest report perpetuates other positive news about the college endowment, which, as of March 1, 2018, was valued at $36.6 million -- up 8.9% since June 30.

Increasing the endowment has been a major goal for SUNY Oswego, and much was gained through the most recent fundraising campaign, which started in 2011 with an endowment of $11.5 million. The college has more than tripled that amount in less than seven years. 

The NACUBO report is based on data gathered from 809 U.S. colleges and universities, representing $566.8 billion in endowment assets, from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017. While the size of the median endowment was approximately $127.8 million, 44 percent of study participants had endowments that were $100 million or less.

Catherine M. Keating, president and chief executive officer of Commonfund, underscored that "the goal of achieving real returns to cover spending has been a daunting task for higher education for more than a decade -- and we don’t expect the challenge to get any easier. At the same time, with tuition discount rates at historic highs and inflation, as measured by the Commonfund Higher Education Price Index, at its highest level since 2008, the importance of endowments in the ecosystem of colleges and universities has never been greater. This year’s reported increased spending levels stand out as one example of that."

For more information on the Oswego College Foundation and what it does for SUNY Oswego students and programs, visit

Growing endowment -- The Oswego College Foundation endowment has continued to outperform the industry average, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)-Commonfund Study of Endowments. The fund's growth from $18.6 million in 2014 to $36.6 million in 2018 has provided additional resources to support more than 350 privately endowed SUNY Oswego scholarships and other funds for learning experiences.