(Bloomberg) — Last year marked a dramatic turn for US college endowments as hundreds of universities reported steep losses, reflecting the tumult in global markets.

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Endowments took an 8% average loss for the year ending June 30, according to a study released Friday by the National Association of College & University Business Officers and TIAA. That’s down from an average gain of 30.6% a year earlier.

The latter half of fiscal 2022 took a toll on stocks and bonds, as inflation surged and the Federal Reserve responded with aggressive interest rate hikes. The S&P 500 fell 12% for the fiscal year.

“The 2022 fiscal year was truly a tale of two markets, with positive economic tailwinds driving equities higher through December 2021, followed by a crushing combination of inflationary pressures,” Jill Popovich, senior managing director and regional general manager at TIAA, said in a statement.

Endowments still boosted overall spending, according to the study, which includes responses from 678 institutions. Respondents reported spending a total of $25.85 billion, up from $23.89 billion last year.

Financial aid accounted for most of the spending at 46%, followed by 15.6% for academic programs and research.

Private Investments

Universities with larger endowments fared better because of their investments in private markets. Portfolio allocations to private equity and venture capital accounted for 30%, with public equities comprising 28%.

While the study didn’t include results by university, many top endowments reported returns on their own late last year. Harvard University’s lost 1.8% and Stanford University dropped 4.2%, while Yale University eked out a gain of 0.8%.

Read More: Stanford Endowment Falls by $1.5 Billion Amid Equity Reversal

Fueled by rising oil and natural gas prices and increasing demand for commodities, private energy and infrastructure were the top-performing assets, according to the study.

Private equity and venture capital also posted strong returns, possibly indicating private managers had not yet marked down their books to reflect decreased valuations.

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