Wayne State University

FAQ

What is the process for establishing a fully funded Endowed Fund?
  1. The Division of Development and Alumni Affairs works closely with donors to donors' wishes for providing long-term support for the University academic and research programs in the Provisions of a gift agreement.
  2. Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer approves and signs the draft gift agreement.
  3. Copy of signed draft gift agreement is submitted to Accounting while other signatures and approvals are obtained.
  4. Accounting confirms the minimum dollar threshold has been received, and then establishes the Endowed Fund as well as its related Beneficiary accounts.
  5. The Office of Endowment and Planned Giving Financial Management places newly-established named endowed funds into the Common Trust Fund at the next available quarterly period via a unitization process.
  6. Spendable Endowment Income is transferred to spending/beneficiary accounts in accordance with University distribution policy.
What is the process for establishing a partially funded Endowed Fund?
  1. The Division of Development and Alumni Affairs works closely with donors to capture their wishes for providing long-term support for the University's academic and research programs in the Provisions of a gift agreement.
  2. Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer approves and signs the draft gift agreement.
  3. Copy of signed the draft gift agreement is submitted to Accounting while other signatures and approvals are obtained.
  4. Accounting confirms and determines if the minimum dollar threshold amount has been received. If not, only a beneficiary account is established at this time.
  5. Accounting records the newly-established beneficiary account on a 'Pending Endowments' ledger.
  6. Subsequent gifts are deposited to the newly established beneficiary account until the minimum threshold amount for establishing the Endowment Fund has been attained.  NO DISBURSEMENTS SHOULD BE POSTED TO THESE PENDING BENEFICIARY ACCOUNTS UNTIL ITS NAMED ENDOWED FUND HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED.
  7. Accounting reviews the Pending Endowments ledger on a quarterly basis to determine if the minimum threshold of gifts has been received in the pending beneficiary account to establish the named endowed fund.
  8. Once the minimum threshold has been received, Accounting establishes the Endowment Fund, and the balance (accumulated gifts) in the beneficiary account is transferred into the newly established named endowed fund.
  9. The Office of Endowment and Planned Giving Financial Management places newly-established named endowed funds into the Common Trust Fund at the next available quarterly period by way of a Unitization Process.
  10. Spendable Endowment Income is transferred to spending/beneficiary accounts in accordance with University Policy.
How are the ownership interests for my endowment fund accounted for in the Common Trust Fund?
  • The University consolidates all of its endowment fund monies into one investment portfolio, referred to as the Common Trust Fund (CTF), for the purposes of investment and accounting efficiencies.
  • Each individual endowment fund has an ownership "interest" in the CTF. This interest is tracked and accounted for by assigning each named endowed fund a number of units or shares of participation in the CTF pool.
  • Similar to a mutual fund, each individual named endowed fund holds units representing its proportionate share of the CTF's investments.
  • The initial number of units assigned to an individual endowment is determined at the point in time its initial gift is deposited into the CTF.
  • As additional gifts are received by the CTF, each new endowment fund gift is assigned a number of units or shares of participation based upon the next quarter-end unit market value. (Each unit in the CTF will be equal in value to every other unit already in the CTF at that point in time.
How are new endowment funds admitted into the Common Trust Fund?
  • A new named endowed fund can only "purchase" into the Common Trust Fund (CTF) on the first day of each calendar quarter. A principal value of at least $25,000 is required for admission into the CTF (i.e., "minimum threshold amount").
  • Lesser amounts will be placed into the University's Current Fund until future gifts are received that raise the total above the minimum threshold amount. (The minimum threshold amount is a generally accepted amount to warrant the administrative expense of endowment fund management.)
  • Occasionally, an approved endowment fund is of sufficient importance to warrant an exception to the admission date stipulation. At the request of the donor, the University Treasurer may authorize the admission of such an endowment fund at the beginning of the month of request.
Can an endowment fund be withdrawn from the Common Trust Fund?

Subtractions from the Common Trust Fund, on rare occasions when necessary and permissible, will be made on the last day of a calendar quarter. They must first be approved by the vice president for development and alumni affairs and the vice president for finance and business operations.

  1. For Permanent or True endowments, an agreement must be executed between the original donor (or their authorized representative) and the University Board of Governors (BOG).

  2. For Quasi endowments, sometimes referred to as Funds Functioning endowments, the request must be signed by the individual authorized by the donor to make the determination of the use of the principal. If the donor specifies the University Board, the Secretary of the Board shall sign the request and cite the action of the Board. If the individual so authorized is not a Vice President or a Dean, the cognizant Vice President or Dean with supervisory responsibility for the individual who made the request must also countersign the request.

What are the different types of endowment funds that are within the Common Trust Fund?
  • PERMANENT OR TRUE ENDOWMENTS
    • Permanent or true endowment funds are gifts received from a donor with a restriction that the original gift is to be kept intact. Restrictions may be specified by the donor as to how the spendable endowment income that has been posted to a spending/beneficiary account, if any, should be used.
  • QUASI (sometimes referred to as FUNDS FUNCTIONING) ENDOWMENTS
    • A quasi endowment (funds functioning as an endowment) is a fund that has been established by the University's Board of Governors (BOG) to function like an endowment fund, but which may be totally expended at any time at the discretion of the University. This typically includes gift funds that the donor did not specifically direct for use as an endowment, or funds available to the University from other sources that the University has decided to designate as an endowment.
  • TERM OR TEMPORARY ENDOWMENTS
    • Term or temporary endowments are gifts for which the donor has stipulated that the principal may be expended after a stated period of time, or upon the occurrence of a certain event.
  • ANNUITIES
    • Annuities are an agreement between a donor and the University in which the donor contributes assets to the University in exchange for the promise by the University to pay a stated amount at least annually to a beneficiary or beneficiaries. The assets received are invested within the Common Trust Fund, and the annuity liability is a general obligation of the University.
What is the process for liquidating gifts of marketable securities?
  1. It is the University's policy to liquidate marketable securities immediately, unless specifically instructed not to by the donor.
  2. University Advancement Development Officers facilitate donors donating marketable securities through an investment broker that is common to both the donor and the University.
  3. The Office of Endowment and Planned Giving Financial Management interfaces with the investment broker to transfer the marketable securities (electronically) to the University's brokerage account and then requests the broker to liquidate the securities and transfer the proceeds to the University's Gift Receiving or Operations bank account, as appropriate.
  4. Occasionally, the University receives actual (paper) stock or bond certificates.  These marketable security certificates take significantly longer to liquidate than electronic security transfers.
How is endowment income to the Beneficiary account determined?
  • The distribution rate policy is under the purview of the University's Board of Governors (BOG). The BOG has approved an annualized distribution rate of 4.5 percent. The approved distribution rate is applied to the Foundation endowment fund's twelve-quarter moving average market value to determine quarterly distributions of spendable endowment income. The objective of the distribution rate policy is to provide support to current students and academic programs while also preserving the Foundation endowment fund's purchasing power to support future students and academic programs. 

How can I project endowment income to an endowed scholarship Beneficiary account that I award scholarships from for my school or college?
  • To assist University school/college/division academic program scholarship administrators with projecting endowment income for endowed scholarship spending/beneficiary accounts that receive endowment income, there is a Cognos report that provides projected endowment income. The report is called the Scholarship Award Management System ("SAMS") Portal. Here are brief instructions to navigate to the SAMS Portal:
    • Go to WSU Academica
    • Click on the Employee Resources menu item on the right
    • Click on the Administrative Systems sub-menu item
    • Click on the Business Intelligence and Reporting ("BI Reporting") sub-menu item, which will direct the Internet Browser to a C&IT Enterprise Analytics and Information resource page
    • Click on the Financial Aid menu item on the left
    • Click on the "1 – Scholarship Funding Availability" link near the top left the page. (For convenience, the link below will go to the SAMS Portal.)
    • Click on your school or college on the resulting drop-down menu
    • Click on the "Available to Award" bar chart

Scholarship Award Management System (SAMS)

 
When can I expect endowment income to be posted to the Beneficiary account(s)?
  • Quarterly distributions of Spendable Endowment Income are posted in the University's financial system account code 5504, which is entitled "Endowment Income." It is posted four times per year in conjunction with the University's fiscal quarter periods.
    • December 31st - is the end of the University first fiscal quarter
    • March 31st - is the end of the University's second fiscal quarter
    • June 30th - is the end of the University's third fiscal quarter
    • September 30th - is the end of the University's fourth fiscal quarter
Why does the amount of endowment income fluctuate?
  • Investment performance and ending market values are key components of the equation; therefore, the volatility of the financial market conditions cause fluctuations in the amount of income distributed (The University uses a market value moving average for the twelve most recent fiscal quarters to 'smooth' the effect of the financial market volatility somewhat.)

What if there is a difference between the actual investment income earned by the endowment fund, and the amount of income distributed to its spending accounts?
  • If investment income earned by the endowment fund is greater than income distributed to beneficiary accounts, the excess investment income is reinvested back into the principal of the endowment fund.  The opposite is true when investment income is less than income distributed.

What is the best way to find the fund code of a particular principal fund and its associated beneficiary account?
  • Go to the Fund Inquiry Form (FNIENDW); tab to Description field; type '%' [name or title of fund – case sensitive] '%'; hit F8; select fund from list.