COVID-19: Essential Information
I understand that the College has a nearly $1 billion endowment. Why don’t we simply take more money from the endowment to solve our financial issues?

While our endowment hovered around that mark earlier this year, it is currently closer to $900 million as a result of the recent declining stock market. In order to ensure significant and equitable resources for future generations of Middlebury students, we must preserve the purchasing power of the endowment and set a limit on spending from the endowment each year. Normally, the boards of trustees of colleges and universities set a ceiling of 5 percent spending from the endowment each year to supplement an institution’s annual budget. In 2001-2002, the Middlebury board allowed the endowment spend rate to increase beyond the 5 percent limit for a period of seven years, rising to a high of 7.1 percent, to finance the building projects that were then under way or were recently completed (Ross Commons, Atwater Commons, Bi-Hall, the new library, athletic facilities). We have worked diligently since that time to bring the spend rate back down to the 5 percent level this fiscal year. Spending more than 5 percent of the endowment now when investment returns are at their lowest point in many years would jeopardize the College’s long-term financial viability. The option to raise spending from the endowment above the 5 percent ceiling once again represents a lever of last resort, taken only after measures to control costs have proven to be insufficient to balance our budget.

Office of the President

Old Chapel
9 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
802.443.5400
president@middlebury.edu