Georgetown’s endowment increased 15.2 percent in the past year, the first reported increase in the university’s endowment since 2000, according to a recent study.

The survey, conducted by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, reviewed endowment statistics at 741 colleges and universities in the United States. Georgetown ranked 77th with a reported endowment of $680.6 million.

NACUBO reported that the average university endowment increased 15.1 percent last year, placing Georgetown’s increase well within the median.

The endowment increase could be credited to last year’s focus on fundraising efforts at Georgetown. After the recent completion of the billion-dollar Third Century Campaign, the Office of Alumni and University Relations advertised for a vice president for medical center developments and a vice president to handle major gifts.

In 2004, the university took on a dual-part policy to reduce their debt level, examining across-the-board cost cutting as well as tuition increases. Georgetown’s Board of Directors voted Thursday to increase tuition by 6.2 percent to $31,656 for the 2005-06 academic year.

The downward trend in endowment that plagued Georgetown over the last few years forced all academic departments to cut corners. In 2004, departments were told to contribute more of their assets to employee fringe benefits and federal work-study salaries. The edical Center faced the most stringent cost cuts.

“It is apparent that as part of the cost containment, the edical Center will need to achieve a reduction in the number of non-tenured faculty and staff,” then-Medical Center Executive Director Daniel Sedmak said in 2004.

The decrease in endowment over the years did not seem to have a negative effect in university morale.

Government Professor Anthony Arend (SFS ’80) took into consideration the difficulty of having Georgetown move forward while facing such financial challenges, but maintains that “[University President John J. DeGioia] is doing an outstanding job addressing these challenges.”

DeGioia remains optimistic about Georgetown’s endowment ranking.

“Today, right now, every single university ranked ahead of Georgetown has at least double our endowment . but believe it or not, we’re catching up, relative to where we started,” he said during a speech at last March’s Faculty Convocation.

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