Editor's Blog: Mason's endowment funds pale in comparison to other Virginia colleges

In 2013, Mason's endowment was about $1,747 per student, a fraction of what it is compared to other Virginia universities (graph by Niki Papadogiannakis).
In 2013, Mason's endowment was about $1,747 per student, a fraction of what it is compared to other Virginia universities (graph by Niki Papadogiannakis).

New numbers show that Mason is 564th largest endowment in the nation. Last semester we published a story that took an in-depth look at how small the university's endowment numbers are in comparison to other universities.

Using a new report that ranked the size endowments for 2013, the Washington Post's Nick Anderson used enrollment data to show compare funds with student population.

The University of Virginia has $220,195 per student. The College of William & Mary has $83,300 per student. Virginia Commonwealth University has $42,410. Mason has $1,747 per student.

As part of its new strategic plan, the administration hopes to increase Mason's endowment by 10 percent over the next year. Between 2012 and 2013, the fund increased by 7.4 percent.

“We’re a young school. We’re only 40 years old. If you look at places like UNC, William and Mary, U.Va., they’ve been around since the 1800s, so they have a larger pool. People have been giving for a longer period of time,” Jim Laychak, the associate vice president of University Advancement, said last year. “Because we are a younger university, you don’t have people who have passed away and left their estate to George Mason that could then be rolled into the endowment.”

Most endowments are traditionally used to support financial aid. This year, only 35 percent of undergraduate financial aid was met. According to Laychak, Mason's endowment goes directly into the operating costs of the university instead of future investments. 

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