Academia continues to rebuild its fiscal position after being whacked in the financial crisis.
College and university endowments gained an average of 15.8 percent in fiscal 2014, according to preliminary data from 426 U.S. colleges and universities compiled by school association NACUBO and investment manager Commonfund. The 2014 fiscal year ran from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014.
The trailing three-year average annual return was 8.9 percent, according to data from 129 institutions. The numbers over five and 10 years were 11.7 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Schools are still recovering from the last recession; the average return from July 2008 to June 2009 was a loss of 18.7 percent.
Read MoreYale endowment posts 20 pct return, besting rival Harvard