Published October 05, 2022 by Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College Announces Endowment Returns for Fiscal 2022

The Bowdoin College endowment generated an investment return of -7.1 percent for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022, a highly volatile period for financial markets that saw the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ lose 10.6 percent and 23.4 percent, respectively.
Hubbard Hall

Bowdoin’s endowment was valued at nearly $2.5 billion at the close of the fiscal year, including approximately $33 million in gifts and other transfers that were added to the endowment. 

Nearly half of the endowment is permanently restricted by donors to the support of student financial aid. Of the total endowment distribution in 2021–2022, approximately $38 million supported financial aid, accounting for approximately three quarters of Bowdoin’s $51 million financial aid budget.

Other distributions restricted by donors are used to support professorships and instruction, lectureships, museums, the library and book purchases, and technology.

“Bowdoin’s investment return, while negative, compares favorably with equity and bond markets, which registered losses in the double digits over this very challenging period,” said Bowdoin President Clayton Rose.

“Our team, led by Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Niles Bryant with the support and insights of our Investment Committee, did outstanding work to preserve much of the extraordinary gains we earned in the prior year, while generating substantial liquidity. This positions the College very well to continue our focus on supporting every student in need who has earned a spot at Bowdoin and to fund other important initiatives at the College.”

Forty-nine percent of Bowdoin’s first-year class receives need-based financial aid, a percentage that continues to grow. The average grant for all aided students—funds that do not have to be paid back—is approximately $56,000 a year.

During the fiscal year, the endowment provided $81 million to the annual operations of the College, and because the actual cost of educating a student at Bowdoin is approximately $114,000, the endowment subsidizes every student, not just those receiving aid.

As of June 30, 2022, the three-, five-, and ten-year annualized returns for Bowdoin’s endowment were 15.7 percent, 14.7 percent, and 13.3 percent, respectively—all in the top 5th percentile among comparative college and university annualized returns, according to data compiled by Cambridge Associates.

Bowdoin’s endowment consists of more than 1,700 individual funds earmarked for the perpetual support of a variety of College initiatives. The endowment portfolio is diversified across different asset classes, including domestic and international equities, fixed income, private equity, venture capital, real estate, and absolute return strategies.

All asset classes are invested through a selection of external investment managers or through market indices. The portfolio is structured with a long-term time horizon, with portfolio diversification and manager selection directed toward protecting endowment capital in challenging investment environments, while growing those assets during periods of economic stability and growth.