Princo seeks to earn outstanding long-term investment returns in support of Princeton University’s mission to be a world-class research and higher education institution. Supporting this mission requires spending a sizeable amount of the Endowment each year in a reasonably stable fashion, while also preserving the Endowment’s purchasing power in perpetuity. Spending out of the Endowment must be large enough to ensure that the University devotes proper resources to its human and physical capital, but not at the detriment of future generations’ ability to do the same.
“Excellence cannot be bought,
but it must be paid for.”
– PROFESSOR VAL FITCH
The earnings from the endowment provide about two-thirds of the University’s net annual operating revenues and help fund the University’s highest priority strategic initiatives, while preserving real value for future generations. This percentage has steadily increased as the endowment has grown. In 1997, only 33% of the University’s operating revenue was funded by endowment earnings.
In fiscal year 2023, distributions from the endowment totaled $1.6 billion. Over the last 20 years, the endowment has contributed $18.4 billion toward the University’s operations, equivalent to almost double the endowment’s value at the start of that timespan.
Notably, the investment program’s strength has allowed the University to initiate and expand its pioneering financial aid program. Endowment funds currently cover 70% of the undergraduate financial aid budget, which has supported the University’s efforts to increase the socioeconomic diversity of the student body. The University is able to admit students without regard to their financial circumstances, and its financial aid program makes it possible for students to graduate with no debt.