Twenty-five per cent of the endowment is generated from revenues earned from the development of new housing on UBC’s land.
The land was originally given to the University with the express purpose of funding academic excellence. All residential developments at UBC are provided on 99-year leases, and the proceeds are put into the endowment. The income generated from the endowment is then used to support a range of programs and services, including research excellence and infrastructure, such as the new Student Union Building.
What does this endowment support?
Student scholarships and bursaries: The endowment provides financial support directly to UBC students through scholarships and bursaries. This includes assisting students in athletics, fine arts, music, medicine (e.g. MS and brain research), and many other disciplines.
Capital projects: Many new academic buildings and other facilities are supported by funds from the endowment. Endowment funds ensure that UBC continues to have cutting-edge facilities to support high-calibre research and teaching. A few examples are the Irving K Barber Learning Centre and the new Student Union Building.
In addition to funding these aspects of UBC, a portion of the endowment is not invested in the financial market, but in student housing projects through the Student Housing Financing Endowment (SHFE). This is where the land use proceeds have been invested since 2011. Currently, UBC is not allowed by the Province to borrow from third parties. Therefore the university is using the SHFE as a way to finance student housing projects to fulfill its commitment to house 50 per cent of the 2010 full-time undergraduate student population on campus. Just like a mortgage, this money is then paid back with interest ensuring that a market-competitive return is generated for the endowment and providing an ongoing pool of capital to enable UBC to build more housing in the future. A recent example of new student housing supported in this fashion can be found in the Ponderosa Commons, which created 1,100 new student beds.