Of the 15 Houston private schools reporting endowments, the average value is $24 million or $40,000 per student. Assuming schools are able to apply up to 5% of this amount towards annual expenditures, that amounts to $2,000 per student in support provided by their endowment.
Given the young age of most of the schools in Houston, sizeable endowments are usually hard to come by. Outside of federal tax filings (from which religious organizations are exempt), most schools do not make endowment information readily available to the public. It’s a safe bet that if a school’s endowment isn’t publicized, it’s because there’s not much of one. (Source: IRS Form 990 via GuideStar and The Schools)
Big endowments often allow schools to subsidize the cost of a student’s education. This subsidy does not usually mean that most parents pay less tuition, rather it means that a well-endowed school may be able to offer more versus a tuition driven school at the same cost; more being smaller classes, more extracurricular activities, electives, and the like. Big endowments may also allow a school to admit more students on financial aid, leading to a more diverse student body.
Endowment Per Pupil
This per student calculation provides a more precise measure of how much a school’s endowment can directly affect individual students as $1 million means a lot more to a school that has 100 students versus 1000 students.
Note that institutions rarely tap the principle balance of an endowment in order to fund operations and even finance building campaigns. Instead, they’re likely to only be able to access a small percentage of an endowment. For example, if Chinquapin has an endowment of $62,893 per pupil, they would optimistically be able to use $3,000 to offset annual operating costs or 5% of the endowment principle.