Princeton University says its endowment dropped by nearly 24 percent from July 2008 through June as its investment holdings felt the effects of the economic recession.
Officials at the Ivy League university had been bracing for worse — a decline of as much as 30 percent.
But even after the $3.7 billion decline, the endowment stood at $12.6 billion.
In a letter released Tuesday, university President Shirley Tilghman said the school had refrained this year from using the endowment for operating expenses.
Princeton also has offered early retirement packages and is working to cut other costs such as energy consumption and printing expenses.
Tilghman said the annual endowment return over the last 10 years is 9.7 percent, even after this year's hit.