Study: College endowments have worst year since 2009

A new study finds that the typical college endowment lost money on its investments last year.

The study of 800 colleges found that the average endowment return was a 2 percent loss, the worst performance since the economic recession in 2009. It continues a slide that started in 2015 after two years of strong gains.

The study was led by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Commonfund Institute investment firm. Officials from those groups say the findings reflect volatility in the market.

The largest endowments were among those hit hardest, including Harvard's, which posted a 5 percent loss but remained the biggest at $34 billion. Yale's remained No. 2 with $25 billion.

Schools with smaller endowments, which rely on traditional types of investments, fared better.