HIGHER EDUCATION A Glimpse Inside the Coffers: Endowment Spending at Wealthy Colleges and Universities TO THE POINT AUGUST 2016 In 2013, 138 institutions each had over $500 million in endowment assets, and these institutions — roughly 3.6 percent of all colleges and universities — held 75 percent of all postsecondary endowment wealth. Institutions get tremendous benefits from endowment assets — including tax-exempt status and no minimum spending threshold — that are subsidized by all federal taxpayers. Increasingly, policymakers are questioning why wealthy institutions don't devote more of their wealth toward promoting upward social mobility for more low-income students. Despite what some institutional leaders say, dedicating more of their endowment assets toward supporting low-income students is doable. In some instances, increasing endowment spending by just a small fraction of a percentage point would generate enough revenue to enroll more low-income students and reduce the price these students pay.