Special Report

America's Richest Universities

The rising cost of a college education is one of the biggest challenges many young Americans face today. The College Board reported that between 1988 and 2018, the average cost of tuition at a private school more than doubled, and the average tuition cost at public schools more than tripled. Sometimes, the only financial relief students can get is through their college endowment.

College endowments are a complex assortment of gifts and funds that support universities and their various programs, including financial aid, research, and athletics. These funds, which are primarily made up of alumni donations, are invested for long-term growth. As colleges get older, their endowments grow larger — there are over 100 U.S. universities with endowments exceeding $1 billion.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the market value of endowments of American universities and foundations, as provided by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, to determine America’s richest universities.

These large endowments allow schools to build the best facilities, hire the best faculty, and overall make these schools attractive to prospective students. It is not a coincidence that many of the schools on this list are among the best — and most exclusive — in the country, if not the world. Many of the schools on this list are private, but some public schools and school systems — a group of associated institutions across multiple campuses — made the list as well, likely in part because of the sheer size of their alumni base.

To identify America’s richest universities, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the endowment market value of American colleges, universities, and foundations for fiscal year 2018, provided by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Net tuition prices and undergraduate enrollment for each university come from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and are for the most recent years available.

Though Stanford University is commonly associated with Palo Alto, California, and Notre Dame with South Bend, Indiana, both of those schools are actually located in eponymous census designated places near those cities and not the cities themselves.

Click here to see America’s richest universities.

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