Distribution from endowment will remain the same for 2020-21


After increasing the percentage of funds taken from Pitt’s quasi-endowment last year to help pay for the Pitt Success program, the Board of Trustees Investment Committee voted unanimously on June 16 to keep the distribution the same for fiscal year 2020-21.

The Operating Funds Quasi-Endowment is about $2.6 billion of the $4.3 billion in the Consolidated Endowment Fund. It includes non-endowed gifts that are completely free of donor restrictions on how and when the funds are spent.

The distribution on the quasi-endowment was set last year at 4.75 percent of the three-year average fair market value. The increase resulted in an additional $7.5 million dedicated to student financial aid. The income distribution on the rest of the endowment will remain at 4.25 percent.

There have been some calls for Pitt to use more money from its endowment to offset losses caused by the pandemic, but Chancellor Patrick Gallagher has said that taking more money from the unrestricted part of the endowment would have a negative impact on students in the future. Also, the endowment could see some losses because of the volatility of the market during the pandemic.

In April, Gallagher said Pitt’s pandemic-related losses were around $40 million, with nearly half coming from pro-rated refunds of fees for room and board after students were asked not to return from spring break. Tuition and room and board fees are expected to stay flat for the upcoming year.

Pitt will receive the same level of funding from the state that it did last year — 151.5 million in general support and $3.3 million for rural education outreach. The University was awarded $21.3 million from the federal CARES Act for coronavirus relief, with at least half required to go to emergency financial-aid grants to students. The $10.6 million that Pitt received was given to about 11,400 students. It is not clear yet how Pitt will spend the other half of the CARES Act funds.

At the June 12 Senate Council meeting, Gallagher said everyone should expect budgets to be tight, and “maybe even, in some cases, a little uncomfortably tight.”

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at suejones@pitt.edu or 412-648-4294.


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