SMIFC: Research: SMIF Statistics

Using the work of William and Penelope Jennings (2006), Kent Saunders (2008), Edward Lawrence (2008), Christopher Kubik (2016) and Peter R. Crabb, Jacob Booker, and Kyle James (2018) (see A Bibliography) as starting points, in August 2018 this survey of known US SMIF websites was started and the following information collected. In 2008, Lawrence found 298 US colleges managing $360 million; this survey has so far identified 617 US colleges between them managing over $833 million. The University of Lincoln in the UK is a member of SMIFC and included in the statistics but not included in the number of US SMIFs. This page is updated as other SMIFs are found and existing ones publish new figures.

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 recommendations 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 individual 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 1940s. As far as can be determined, the first was founded in 1946 at the liberal arts school, Lafayette College, Easton, PA. How the investment club got started is both interesting and unusual. John H. Tarbell was a finance professor and after returning from Europe as Major Tarbell in 1945, he started giving basic investing tips to other returning veterans. Several vets were so grateful to Tarbell that they gifted him $3,000 to start an investing club, the Veterans Investment Research Foundation, at the college where he returned to teaching finance full-time after his military service. By 1949, the portfolio was being run entirely by students. In April 2021, the Investment Club reached $1 million AUM.

The latest SMIFs, are the $500,000 fund at the W. Frank Barton School of Business, Wichita State University which will start trading in 2023 and the Gates of Opportunity Investment Fund at the College of the Ozarks which was formed in June 2023. 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 Piedmont Virginia Community College which was formed in 2016 and who manage a modest $2,000. The largest is the University of Dayton, which manages a fund of $67.8 million and which was founded in 1999. Several colleges run multiple SMIFs with different aims and procedures.

While compiling this information it was found that the number and size of non-US SMIFs is also increasing, but those are not considered on this page. Several universities have student-run Real Estate and Venture Capital funds, those are not considered here, neither are the small but growing number of high schools that have SMIFs such as Blake School, Minnesota; Episcopal School of Dallas, Texas; Greenhill School, Texas; and others.

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, Corey Maxedon and Carlos Garcia Jr., for the Investment Club and Networks Financial Institute, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University and the SMIF Consortium,
Created August 2018, last updated July 2023

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 the current one.

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.


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.

Student Managed Investment Fund Consortium (SMIFC)