The significant endowment return in fiscal year 2021 provided an increase in operating funds beginning with the fiscal year 2023 budget (which began on July 1, 2022).
The target spending rate is important because it ensures that the university doesn’t spend too much or too little in any given year. The rate of 5.25% derives from the university’s expected ability to generate the investment returns, averaged over time, to replenish the funds it spends and keep up with inflation.
The smoothing rule is necessary to prevent market volatility from disrupting the academic activities of the campus and hurting Yale’s long-term ability to pursue its academic mission. Together, these components of the spending policy are designed to achieve “intergenerational equity”—that is, to spread the benefits of Yale’s investment returns equally over the current and all future generations.