Olin received its initial endowment of over $400 million from the F. W. Olin Foundation, and has since been using these funds to found and grow Olin- with a vision towards Olin as the recognized leader in the transformation of undergraduate education in America and throughout the world.
As part of its plan to attract top engineering students, Olin has offered the Olin Scholarship, an eight-semester merit scholarship, to all of its students since the college’s beginning. Until 2006, this scholarship included room, board, and full tuition; until 2011, Olin students received full tuition scholarships. The initial reduction in scholarship was planned; the more recent reduction was due to a sudden value reduction on endowment investments.
The endowment is the total value of Olin’s investments. Thus, the percentage drawn annually must be sustainable so that the endowment continues to grow. 2009’s percentage draw from the endowment was the highest in Olin’s history at around 8%. It was funding four classes’ full tuition on an endowment the same size as it was in 2004 (Olin had only two classes of students in 2004). Since then, due to incoming tuition and a recovering economy, the endowment has been growing steadily.
The endowment grows when investments do well. Investment growth has been as much as 17.42% in 2007, and in 2011 it was again above 17%, but in poorer years, the endowment can diminish from an investing downfall, as it did in 2008 (-0.25%)and 2009 (-22.74%).
The college also seeks money through contribution. Much of this money comes from grants, such as the Clare Luce grant recently received by Olin to support female student researchers.
It also receives money from within the Olin community. Often these contributions are earmarked for specific usage. The Class of 2006 Gift, for example, established Olin’s Summer Book Program. The Class of 2011 Gift contributes toward Olin’s Passionate Pursuit program.
The cost of attending Olin increases every year. However, these cost increases are normal in higher education, and are comparable with those of other colleges.