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Financial Statements

Net Assets

Net assets is the difference between assets and liabilities. Net assets are sometimes referred to as "net worth."

Net Assets = Assets - Liabilities

Net Assets is made up of the Endowment, Investment in Plant and other Net Assets.

1. Endowment

The University endowment was established predominantly with money or other financial assets donated to the University. The University's intention is that the endowment be invested in such a way that it increases in value while generating enough income to support the University’s mission. Donor-restricted (true) endowment funds must be held in perpetuity and the University may only spend a portion (as determined by the Board of Trustees) of the earnings from the investments. The University has also made strategic decisions to invest additional funds in its endowment to provide long-term financial stability.

Endowment Purpose ($ in millions)

2. Investment in Plant

Investment in plant include all physical capital assets like the campus buildings and equipment.

3. Other Net Assets

Other Net Assets include assets that are not listed above but support our mission, such as operating balances, funds available for student loans, and funds held by others that will eventually benefit the University.

Chart of Cornell's Historical Net Assets

Remember: The resources owned by the University are called assets, the claims against those assets are called liabilities, and the difference between the two is the net assets. Positive net assets indicates that the University is in a good financial position.