Local News

Duke endowment lost 24% last school year

Posted October 6, 2009 3:50 p.m. EDT

— Like many investors, Duke University's endowment had a difficult year.

Information released Tuesday by Duke Management , which handles the university's investments, shows the endowment lost 24.3 percent of its value during the fiscal year that ended June 30 and is now worth $4.4 billion.

Most of the losses came during the final months of 2008, when the collapse of the real estate and financial sectors sent stock markets into a downward spiral.

The endowment's returns over the past 10 years dropped to 10.1 percent, compared with 15.6 percent a year ago and 16 to 17 percent in recent years, according to Duke Management.

Proceeds from the endowment account for about 15 percent of Duke's annual operating budget, and the losses have forced Duke to trim $125 million from its annual budget over the next three years. University officials have already frozen salaries, delayed construction projects and initiated an early retirement program to cut costs.