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Biggest 2009 Endowment Losses

College endowments took a big hit in their last fiscal year, suffering their worst annual returns since the Great Depression.

According to a new study by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and the Commonfund Institute, endowments and affiliated foundations had an average investment loss of 19 percent between July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009.

CNBC.com looked at the 250 largest endowments in the U.S. and highlighted the 15 that suffered the most dramatic losses in market value. They are ranked according to the percentage change in market value between fiscal year-end 2009 and fiscal year-end 2008. Factors such as growth from gifts, reductions due to expenditures and withdrawals, as well as investment returns determine an endowment's fiscal year-end market value.

Click ahead to see the rankings. Some of the biggest losers may surprise you!

By Brooke Sopelsa

Posted 2 Feb 2010 || Photo: PhotoAlto | Sigrid Olsson | Getty Images ||Source: NACUBO