Macalester has three main revenue sources: its endowment, tuition, and philanthropy. The purpose of the college’s endowment is to provide a sustainable and reliable level of support to Macalester’s operating budget. Each year, the college’s operating revenues include 5 percent of the endowment’s value averaged out over the previous four years. This formula is designed to support the college’s activities while preserving the endowment’s value over time and thus being responsible to those who will benefit from Macalester in the future.
The endowment revenue funds approximately 1/3 of Macalester’s operating budget. The rest comes from tuition and fees and annual philanthropic support. The revenue from our endowment enables the college to spend more on educating students, but it does not lessen the need for tuition or donor generosity. Relying entirely on the endowment to fund operations would quickly deplete it.
In the year that ended June 30, 2018, Macalester’s portfolio returned 7.3 percent, totaling $768 million. The endowment is broadly diversified and seeks returns sufficient to preserve and potentially grow the inflation-adjusted value over time, providing a reliable foundation for Macalester’s future.