With college endowments reaping a measly 2.4% return in 2015, schools are eyeing real estate as a shield against volatile equity and bond markets. Real estate investments generated an average return of 9.9% for college endowments in 2015, outperforming securities by a sizable margin, Bloomberg reports. Well-endowed universities with over $1B under management performed better than most in 2015, averaging 4.3% due to their larger stakes in alternative assets. One-third of school business officers surveyed at a conference last week say they plan to increase funds in alternative strategies—including real estate—in 2017. Some schools have already taken action. Stanford University, for example, recently hired industry veteran Mark Shoberg to serve as managing director of real estate.