Endowments

Questions?

  • Office of Development and Alumni Relations
    202-885-5900
    Fax: 202-895-4998
    giving@american.edu

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Strong endowments provide long-term financial health to any institution. Endowments allow a donor to create a permanent legacy at AU, providing funding for scholarships, faculty, and programs. This funding may help AU create new opportunities that attract the best students and faculty or provide important underpinning for existing programs.

Regardless of their designated purpose, the combined assets of AU’s endowment are an important measure of overall financial condition and impact things like the University’s rankings and bond ratings.

Well invested, endowments grow significantly over time. AU's endowment has a history of consistently outperforming other institutions in its asset class. For example, in the Cambridge Associates "Comparative Asset Allocation and Total Return Report" for colleges and universities for the calendar year ending December 31, 2009, American University is ranked first among the 150 reporting institutions for the highest calendar year investment return on its endowment portfolio. The university had the highest investment return at 33 percent for the calendar year; the Cambridge Associates' average investment return for Colleges and Universities as a whole was 19 percent.

Decisions about investment and spending from AU’s endowment are made by the Board of Trustees with guiding input from the Finance & Investment Committee of the Board, and in consultation with the University’s investment advisors, Cambridge Associates.

What does this all mean? It means that by establishing a legacy at AU in the form of an endowment, donors and their families can rest assured that their gifts are handled well and responsibly, ensuring long-term growth and lasting support of the purposes at AU about which they care so much.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Scholarships and Fellowships for AU's undergraduate and graduate students are critical to maintaining AU's academic excellence because they remove financial barriers and allow AU to attract and retain the most qualified and diverse student body.

Donors who establish endowments for students unleash the unlimited potential of education, and often establish lifelong relationships with those whose AU experience might not otherwise be possible.

Faculty Endowments

Nothing is more important to the quality of an American University education than its faculty of distinguished scholars and educators, many of whom have earned national and international attention.

Alumni Association Scholarship

Andy Sides, '11, a recipient of the Alumni Assocation Scholarship, with his grandmother, Virginia Ruff, CAS/BA '72.

American University deeply values the legacy of an AU education, passed down from family member to family member. Because of that, in 1981 the Alumni Association created the Alumni Association Scholarship. This program provides financial support to legacy students - those who have an immediate family member with a degree from American University.

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