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SMIFC: Research: SMIF Statistics

Using the work of William and Penelope Jennings (2006), Kent Saunders (2008), Edward Lawrence (2008), and Peter R. Crabb, Jacob Booker, and Kyle James (2018) (see A Blibliography) as starting points, in August - November 2018 a survey of known US SMIF websites was undertaken and the following information collected. In 2008, Lawrence found 298 US colleges managing $360 million; this survey found 541 US colleges between them managing $691 million.

As Lawrence noted in his work, this survey also found a large variance between the SMIFs; how much they manage, how they are organized, which students are eligible to manage them, their governance, and how actively they manage their accounts. Some SMIFs are run as a single finance class, others are open to to any student of any major across the entire higher education institution. Students of some SMIFs make reommendations to their governing body before any transactions take place, others are entirely responsible for the management of theirs. Many SMIFs are managing part of their Foundations funds, others were started by donations, either by a single indvidual or from a group, at least one is funded by an individual giving the SMIF an interest-free annual loan, the principle being repaid and any profit being kept by the SMIF. Some are run as investment companies and use their client's money. Several SMIFs use any profit accrued to fund scholarships or putting it into their college's general fund.

The first SMIFs were created in the 1950s. As far as can be determined, the first was founded in 1950 at Lafayette College, Easton, PA. The latest, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN, and the Universitiy of Detroit Mercy, MI, made their first investments in January 2018. Most SMIFs were formed in the two decades between 1990 and 2009, but fewer have been created since then. The size of managed funds vary enormously. One of the smallest is Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, which was formed in 2006 and who manage a modest $7,000. The largest is the University of Wisconsin Madison, which manages a fund of $62 million and which was founded in 1970. Several colleges run multiple SMIFs with different aims and proceedures.

While compiling this information it was found that the number and size of non-US SMIFs is also increasing, but those are not considered here.

This web survey has several shortcomings. The information was gathered from the web pages of the various institutions and those, like the SMIFs themselves, are very variable. Although some sites contain a wealth of information including up to date quarterly and annual reports, others contain no information about their SMIF other than they have one, while others do not appear to have been updated for several years.

A Google Sheet that was created for this survey is open to inspection and contains the findings of Jennings, Saunders and Lawrence as well as the web pages visited.

Ray Thomas for the Investment Club and Networks Financial Institute, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University and the SMIF Consortium,
September 2018.

The Statistics

The statistics in the tables below were calculated using only the values that are known.

Year Formed

Amount under Management

Growth of the SMIFs

The number of SMIFs that have been created per decade from 1950 to 2018.

The Size of the Funds

The range of the size of the funds and the number of colleges that hold them.

The column "< $250,000" for example includes SMIFs that hold between $100,000 (the column to the left) and $249,999.

NB: The x-axis scale is not linear.

The SMIFs

A Google Sheet that was created for this survey is open to inspection and contains the findings of Jennings, Saunders and Lawrence as well as the web pages visited.