Special Report

America's Richest Universities

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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.

Source: Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) / Wikimedia Commons

31. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill & Foundations
> 2018 endowment: $3.4 billion
> Increase from 2017: 13.4%
> Main campus location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 18,862

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Source: AWeenieMan / Wikimedia Commons

30. Brown University
> 2018 endowment: $3.6 billion
> Increase from 2017: 11.0%
> Main campus location: Providence, Rhode Island
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 6,988

Source: AlexiusHoratius / Wikimedia Commons

29. University of Minnesota & Foundations
> 2018 endowment: $3.7 billion
> Increase from 2017: 6.4%
> Main campus location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 31,535

Source: Yisong Yue / Wikimedia Commons

28. University of Pittsburgh
> 2018 endowment: $4.2 billion
> Increase from 2017: 6.5%
> Main campus location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 19,326

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Source: colecamplese / Flickr

27. The Pennsylvania State University
> 2018 endowment: $4.3 billion
> Increase from 2017: 6.9%
> Main campus location: State College, Pennsylvania
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 40,552

Source: Jonathan71-Wikimedia Commons

26. New York University
> 2018 endowment: $4.3 billion
> Increase from 2017: 6.9%
> Main campus location: New York City, New York
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 26,417

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Source: Cvenghaus / Wikimedia Commons

25. Johns Hopkins University
> 2018 endowment: $4.3 billion
> Increase from 2017: 12.5%
> Main campus location: Baltimore, Maryland
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 6,109

Source: Dansan4444 / Wikimedia Commons

24. The Vanderbilt University
> 2018 endowment: $4.6 billion
> Increase from 2017: 11.4%
> Main campus location: Nashville, Tennessee
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 6,885

Source: Nheyob / Wikimedia Commons

23. The Ohio State University
> 2018 endowment: $5.2 billion
> Increase from 2017: 22.5%
> Main campus location: Columbus, Ohio
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 45,946 (Columbus campus)

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Source: Darren McCollester / Getty Images

22. Dartmouth College
> 2018 endowment: $5.5 billion
> Increase from 2017: 10.8%
> Main campus location: Hanover, New Hampshire
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 4,410

Source: Padsquad19-Wikimedia Commons

21. University of Southern California
> 2018 endowment: $5.5 billion
> Increase from 2017: 8.1%
> Main campus location: Los Angeles, California
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 19,170

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Source: tendenci / Flickr

20. Rice University
> 2018 endowment: $6.3 billion
> Increase from 2017: 8.0%
> Main campus location: Houston, Texas
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 4,001

Source: Photo: Philip LarsonStatue: Moses Jacob Ezekiel / Wikimedia Commons

19. The University of Virginia
> 2018 endowment: $7.0 billion
> Increase from 2017: 8.8%
> Main campus location: Charlottesville, Virginia
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 16,655 (Charlottesville campus)

Source: Wikipedia

18. Cornell University
> 2018 endowment: $7.2 billion
> Increase from 2017: 7.0%
> Main campus location: Ithaca, New York
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 14,907

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Source: Daniel Mayer-Wikimedia Commons

17. Emory University
> 2018 endowment: $7.3 billion
> Increase from 2017: 5.6%
> Main campus location: Emory, Georgia
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 6,937

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

16. Washington University in St. Louis
> 2018 endowment: $7.6 billion
> Increase from 2017: 6.5%
> Main campus location: St. Louis, Missouri
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 6,987

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Source: Rick Seidel / Wikimedia Commons

15. The University of Chicago
> 2018 endowment: $7.9 billion
> Increase from 2017: 5.4%
> Main campus location: Chicago, Illinois
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 6,310

Source: 134348486@N05 / Flickr

14. Duke University (DUMAC, Inc.)
> 2018 endowment: $8.5 billion
> Increase from 2017: 7.8%
> Main campus location: Durham, North Carolina
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 6,696

Source: ReDunnLev / Getty Images

13. University of Notre Dame
> 2018 endowment: $10.7 billion
> Increase from 2017: 14.7%
> Main campus location: South Bend, Indiana
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 8,576

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Source: InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA / Wikimedia Commons

12. Columbia University
> 2018 endowment: $10.9 billion
> Increase from 2017: 8.7%
> Main campus location: New York City, New York
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 8,170

Source: Bob Collowân / Wikimedia Commons

11. The University of California
> 2018 endowment: $11.0 billion
> Increase from 2017: 14.2%
> Main campus location: Berkeley, California
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 29,783 (Berkeley campus)

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Source: Madcoverboy-Wikimedia Commons

10. Northwestern University
> 2018 endowment: $11.1 billion
> Increase from 2017: 6.2%
> Main campus location: Evanston, Illinois
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 8,700

Source: Dave Parker / Wikimedia Commons

9. University of Michigan
> 2018 endowment: $11.9 billion
> Increase from 2017: 8.8%
> Main campus location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 29,821 (Ann Arbor campus)

Source: https://www.flickr.com/people/stuseeger/

8. The Texas A&M University System and Foundations
> 2018 endowment: $13.5 billion
> Increase from 2017: 17.0%
> Main campus location: College Station, Texas
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 53,690 (College Station campus)

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

7. University of Pennsylvania
> 2018 endowment: $13.8 billion
> Increase from 2017: 12.8%
> Main campus location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 11,716

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
> 2018 endowment: $16.5 billion
> Increase from 2017: 10.4%
> Main campus location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 4,547

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Source: Andreas Praefcke / Wikimedia Commons

5. Princeton University
> 2018 endowment: $25.9 billion
> Increase from 2017: 8.8%
> Main campus location: Princeton, New Jersey
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 5,394

Source: Tobias Haase from Hanover, Germany / Wikimedia Commons

4. Stanford University
> 2018 endowment: $26.5 billion
> Increase from 2017: 6.8%
> Main campus location: Palo Alto, California
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 7,064

Source: CyberCop / Wikimedia Commons

3. Yale University
> 2018 endowment: $29.4 billion
> Increase from 2017: 8.0%
> Main campus location: New Haven, Connecticut
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 5,746

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

2. The University of Texas System
> 2018 endowment: $30.9 billion
> Increase from 2017: 16.4%
> Main campus location: Austin, Texas
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 40,492 (Austin campus)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

1. Harvard University
> 2018 endowment: $38.3 billion
> Increase from 2017: 6.3%
> Main campus location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
> 2017 undergraduate enrollment: 9,965

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