story Lai Ying Tong, Deputy News Editor

Returns from the endowment fund are key in sustaining the College’s operation and growth. (David Zhang)

Returns from the endowment fund are key in sustaining the College’s operation and growth. (David Zhang)


The Yale-NUS College Endowment Fund has reached 350 million SGD this year, putting it on par with some comparable liberal arts colleges in America. The endowment fund is donated by individuals, corporations and foundations to support the College’s key priorities, and makes up one of the College’s main sources of funding, along with school fees and government support.

Endowment funds go into scholarships and study awards, international programs, faculty appointments, residential and student life programs, and other student development programs.

Unlike direct forms of funding, only the returns from endowment can be spent directly on school expenditures. The principal endowment is first invested in several different types of assets to generate income. That investment income can be spent directly on College operations, while the principal is maintained at the same amount.

The school is aiming for the endowment to grow at 4% plus inflation, President Pericles Lewis said. Returns and losses are expected to fluctuate from year to year like any investment, Andy Loo, Senior Associate Director of Development, said in an email interview. Mr. Loo said he was unable to share about the College’s specific investments.

In a few years, the College aims to increase its endowment fund to 500 million SGD by continuing to approach existing and new donors, Mr. Loo said. “We try to interest them in what the College is doing and align their philanthropic interests with programs at the College.”

Donors include individuals, foundations, and corporations, with individuals and foundations contributing slightly more than corporations. Some major donors are Mr. Alan Chan Hong Joo, the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation, Lee Foundation, Banco Santander, Prima Limited, Kewalram Chanrai Group and Singapore Airlines, Mr. Loo said. Some staff and faculty of the College are also donors. Most donors are based in Singapore, although some are from outside of the country.

In the long run, the College will depend on alumni and parents for a strong annual giving component in order to be sustainable, Mr. Lewis said.

Currently, Yale-NUS College’s endowment fund is comparable to Haverford College, a liberal arts college with 1,190 students. Dividing up the 350 million SGD endowment across the present class of 517 students, Yale-NUS College has a 670,000 SGD endowment per student. In comparison, Haverford College has a 600,000 SGD (416,000 USD) endowment per student, according to data from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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