(Bloomberg News) Yale University, whose endowment strategy has been a model for U.S. schools, said its investments returned 22 percent in the past fiscal year, leading a two-year comeback by the richest U.S. universities.

The endowment's value rose to $19.4 billion as of June 30, from $16.7 billion a year earlier, helped by foreign stocks and private-equity gains, according to an e-mail today from spokesman Tom Conroy. That amount includes investment gains of $3.6 billion and distributions of $1 billion to the New Haven, Connecticut, university.

Yale, the second-richest school after Harvard University of Cambridge, Massachusetts, said foreign stocks beat benchmarks and its private-equity and real-asset investments rebounded. The school trailed its Ivy League rivals in the previous fiscal year after a second straight year of losses on real estate, timber and oil and gas holdings.

Yale's 22 percent gain is the best of the Ivy League schools that have reported results so far. The group consists of eight selective private schools in the northeastern U.S. Harvard, the world's richest school, said Sept. 22 its investments advanced 21 percent.

The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia said Sept. 15 its fund gained 19 percent, helped by rising stock markets. Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, said today that its fund climbed 20 percent.

Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, said today that investments rose 18 percent for the year ended June 30, boosted by stocks and venture capital and gains across asset classes. Investment returns helped increase the endowment to $3.41 billion, after more than $40 million in new gifts and transfers, partly offset by distributions, Dartmouth said.

David Swensen, Yale's chief investment officer, pioneered an investing style that helped endowments beat market indexes by relying on such hard-to-sell assets as real estate and private equity. Over the past 20 years, Yale's endowment generated returns of more than 14 percent, compared with the 13 percent increase at Harvard.

Foreign stocks gained 41 percent in the fiscal year, beating its benchmark by 13 percent, according to Conroy's e- mail. Real estate and natural-resource investments rose 17 percent and private equity increased 30 percent.

U.S. stocks gained 25 percent, underperforming the benchmark by 7.8 percent, while absolute return funds matched expectations with a 13 percent return, according to Conroy.

The school this year aims to allocate 20 percent of assets to real estate, down from 28 percent last year, 17 percent in absolute return instead of 19 percent and 34 percent in private equity instead of 33 percent, Conroy said. Allocations for foreign stocks, U.S. equities, bonds and cash remain constant at 9 percent, 7 percent and 4 percent, respectively.