Endowment - University of Houston
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Investing in Excellence

The University of Houston System relies on endowed gifts to provide a sustainable foundation to recruit and support the best students and faculty, to lead innovative research and to build a dynamic athletics program, all of which shape our city, state and nation.

To have an endowment is a point of pride for faculty...

Jeffrey Rimer Abraham E. Dukler
Endowed Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Cullen College of Engineering

What is an Endowment?

While all gifts to UHS contribute to the forward momentum and progress of our Universities, endowments are a lasting investment that offer a perpetual source of funding. When you make an endowed gift to UHS, the funds are invested, and a portion of the income earned is distributed annually to support your endowment’s designated purpose.

The investment strategy and distribution policy are set by the University of Houston System Board of Regents. The endowment distribution rate is between 4% to 5%, offering annual support while also prudently safeguarding the principal investment.


$1,019,350,460
University of Houston System Market Value as of August 31, 2023
University of Houston

Why Are Endowments Important to UHS?

Endowments are a vital source of financial stability for the University of Houston System. Generous support through endowed funds enabled us to distribute more than $37.8 million in the 2022-2023 academic year for scholarships, faculty and student research, and program costs. Endowments preserve the tradition of an affordable, world-class education that has always been at the heart of the experience at the University of Houston System.

Return on Investment
5-year average market performance 8.4%

It's very important for people like us to be part of the University of Houston so that the coming generation can benefit—just like we benefited from other people's generosity. There is nothing that pleases me more than to have the ability to give back to my college and university.

The Honorable Durga D. Agrawal (M.S. '69, Ph.D. '74)
Vice Chair of the UH System Endowment Management Committee

Endowments at a Glance

The following provides an example of how an endowed gift works:

  • Step 1
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  • Step 5

A donor makes a $50,000 gift to establish a named endowed scholarship in memory of her husband for a chosen college at UH.

The gift is invested in our pooled endowment, managed by an independent investment manager and retained by the UH System Board of Regents.

A portion of the income earned is distributed annually* to provide scholarship funding, per the gift agreement instructions.

The remainder of the income earned, minus endowment management fees, is reinvested in the named fund’s principal to protect against inflation and to generate growth.

The corpus of the original gift remains intact.

*In order to both preserve the corpus of the original gift and sustain an annual distribution, an endowment must be fully funded for at least one year to be eligible for any distribution.

See the chart below to review minimum levels for establishing endowments that benefit University of Houston students, faculty, research and programs at the University designated by the donor. Minimum funding levels are determined by the fund’s intended purpose and function. A gift to establish an endowment may be pledged and paid in installments for up to five years.

The University of Houston System Board of Regents approved a raise of minimum support levels for new University of Houston endowment funds, effective Sept. 1, 2024.


Minimum Giving Levels - University Of Houston - Main Campus * Increase Sept. 1, 2024

Scholarships Current Endowment Minimum Endowment Minimum Effective September 1, 2024
Scholarships $25,000 $50,000
Graduate Fellowships $50,000 $100,000
Faculty Position Current Endowment Minimum Endowment Minimum Effective September 1 2024
Dean's Chair* $5 million $5 million
Chair $1 million $2 million
Aspire Professorship* $1 million $1 million
Professorship $500,000 $1 million
College Professorship $250,000 $500,000

*The minimum investment for endowing an Aspire Chair or Aspire Professorship is not subject to the Sept. 1, 2024 endowment minimum increase.

Contact for University of Houston:

To learn more about making an endowment gift at University of Houston, please contact Russell Dunlavy, Senior Associate Vice President for University Development, at 713-743-4209.


Minimum Giving Levels - University Of Houston - Clear Lake Campus

Scholarships Endowment Minimum
Scholarships $25,000
Graduate Fellowships $50,000
Hawk Advantage Scholarship $50,000
Faculty Position Endowment Minimum
Chair $500,000
Professorship $250,000
Other Adademic Appointments $100,000-$250,000

Contact for University of Houston - Clear Lake:

To learn more about making an endowment gift at University of Houston - Clear Lake, please contact Joseph L. Staley, Vice President for University Advancement, at 281-283-2018.


Minimum Giving Levels - University Of Houston - Downtown Campus

Scholarships Endowment Minimum
Scholarships $10,000
Graduate Fellowships $50,000
Faculty Position Endowment Minimum
Chair $500,000
Professorship $250,000
Other Adademic Appointments $100,000-$250,000

Contact for University of Houston - Downtown:

To learn more about making an endowment gift at University of Houston - Downtown, please contact Javier L. Zambrano, Vice President of Advancement and University Relations at 713-221-8909.


Minimum Giving Levels - University Of Houston - Victoria Campus

Scholarships Endowment Minimum
Scholarships $10,000
Graduate Fellowships $50,000
Faculty Position Endowment Minimum
Chair $500,000
Professorship $250,000
Other Adademic Appointments $100,000-$250,000

Contact for University of Houston - Victoria:

To learn more about making an endowment gift at University of Houston - Victoria, please contact Amber Countis, Vice President of Advancement and External Relations, at 361-570-4829.

Endowed Chairs and Professorships

Endowed Chairs and Professorships are the highest honor faculty members can receive, serving as a lasting tribute to the donor and the person whom the donor may wish to honor. These endowed positions propel cutting-edge research, advance teaching and create opportunities for collaboration with scholars around the world. To continue fueling this think-tank, it is vital that we support our faculty in their endless pursuit of knowledge and discovery.

In the case of endowed chairs and professorships, income from endowment can underwrite a faculty member’s salary and associated costs, such as research expenses, graduate fellowships and lab equipment.

Endowed Scholarships

6 year graduation rate

In our mission to help students thrive at the University of Houston, we have made student success a no-excuse priority. To this end, we aim to ensure that all students, regardless of financial or family background, graduate from college. We work diligently to break down barriers and ensure successful recruitment, retention and graduation of students at our institution.

First and foremost is the financial hardship, which we address by increasing scholarship funds, reducing lost credit hours and freezing tuition rates. Despite inflationary pressure, the average debt carried by students at the time of graduation has decreased.

Endowed scholarships help provide students with the necessary resources to enroll and succeed at UHS. Studies conducted by UH show that 87% of scholarship recipients stay at the University, graduate on time and have higher overall grade point averages. Endowing a scholarship is an excellent way to ensure your legacy at UHS makes an impact on the lives of students for generations to come.

More Information

Endowed gifts are managed through ardent investment strategies and payout policies set forth by the University of Houston System Board of Regents. Through a thoughtful review of UH endowment investment minimums and those of institutions across the country, it has been determined that UH endowment levels are less than our peer institutions and have not kept pace with increasing UH institutional needs and priorities. Over the last 30 years, the cost to support students, faculty and research has significantly climbed, requiring greater endowment investment to generate sufficient income to sustain endowed funds as a sucbstantial source of impact at UH. In recognition of this challenge and to ensure that endowed funds at UH continue to be an impactful resource for supporting students, faculty and research into the future, the University of Houston System Board of Regents has approved a raise in the minimum investment for new endowments, effective Sept. 1, 2024. This proactive step will help preserve the purchasing power of endowed gifts, ensuring that the generous intentions behind these contributions are fulfilled and maintained in perpetuity.

Endowed funds designated to UHCL, UHD, or UHV are not affected by the increase in the minimum investment required to establish an endowed fund.

Scholarships Current Endowment Minimum Endowment Minimum Effective September 1, 2024
Scholarships $25,000 $50,000
Graduate Fellowships $50,000 $100,000
Faculty Position Current Endowment Minimum Endowment Minimum Effective September 1 2024
Dean's Chair* $5 million $5 million
Chair $1 million $2 million
Aspire Professorship* $1 million $1 million
Professorship $500,000 $1 million
College Professorship $250,000 $500,000

*The minimum investment for endowing an Aspire Chair or Aspire Professorship is not subject to the Sept. 1, 2024 endowment minimum increase.

As authorized by the University of Houston Board of Regents, the University will annually assess a reasonable fee against the assets of the endowed fund to offset expenses associated with gift management and stewardship at the University. The administrative fee assessed to funds in fiscal year 2023 was 1.1%.

An endowment may be established with an initial gift of at least $1,000,with an agreement to fulfill the pledge as specified in pledge payment schedule, with a maximum of five years available for pledge fulfillment.

Scholarship recipients are determined by a university or college selection committee. Per UHS policy, donors may advise but may not participate in the selection or evaluation of students or faculty members who would benefit from the gift. Donors are informed about the recipient(s) but are not involved in the selection process.

University Advancement and Alumni can provide the contact information for the endowed faculty member supported through your fund. UHS encourages regular communication between faculty and donors, depending on the wishes of the donor.

Compliance with donor intent is one of our fundamental responsibilities, and our staff is dedicated to safeguarding our donors’ objectives. The legal department helps to establish gift purpose at the outset, through a gift agreement, estate documentation or other evidence clearly documenting donor intent, and ensuring endowed gifts are held in a fund for that purpose. Finance and Accounting oversees spending for compliance within the fund purpose. Internal auditors review endowment expenditures each year. Additionally, donors receive an annual report on the performance of their endowed funds and the expenditures through the fiscal year.

Donors who establish endowed funds with the University receive an annual endowment report detailed the investment performance, growth, and expenditures. The first report is prepared and sent 12 to 18 months after the fund is established and fully-funded. Every following year, donors can expect their annual endowment reports to arrive digitally following the close of the fiscal year. Print copies of endowment reports may be mailed at the donor’s request.

  • Above Water: A term used to describe an endowment whose current market value is more than its corpus.
  • Book Value (Carrying Value; Fund Balance): The original cost basis of an endowment, plus adjustments for realized gains or losses, additional gifts, external management fees and any other transfers to or from the fund.
  • Corpus (Historical Gift Value; Historic Dollar Value): The aggregate amount of all contributions by a donor or donors to an endowment. This is not the same as book value.
  • Distributable Income (Income Distribution): The portion of income available for expenditure according to the purpose of the endowment. Policy for determining the amount of distributable income is set by the Board.
  • Endowment Agreement (Gift Agreement): The written document or records, including an institutional solicitation, under which property (cash, real estate, etc.) is donated or granted to the institution and held as an endowment.
  • Fully Funded: The term given to an endowment whose historic dollar value equals or exceeds the amount pledged by the donor as stipulated in the endowment agreement.
  • Income: Interest, dividend income, realized gains and royalties received from the principal of the endowment.
  • Minimum Funding Level: The minimum corpus level required per the agreement.
  • Net Asset Value: An amount equal to the total value of the pooled investment fund's assets, less any liabilities to be paid by the fund.
  • Realized Gain or Loss: The difference (gain or loss) between the value at the time of purchase or other acquisition of an asset, and the market value of that asset at a point in time when the asset is sold.
  • Restricted Income: Endowment income whose use is restricted by donor instructions.
  • Endowment: A fund established through a gift with provisions that prohibit the spending of principal. Only investment income generated from the principal may be used.
  • Under Water: A term used to describe an endowment whose current market value is less than its corpus.
  • Unrestricted Income: Endowment income whose use is not restricted by donor instructions, but may be designated for a specific use by an internal component university decision.