Attending a university has become more and more expensive, American students more than ever must turn to grants, scholarships, and other aid to help afford higher education. Many schools can offer students financial aid through their endowments — invested assets, largely from donations, that are used to further the institution’s educational mission.
As colleges accrue funds throughout decades and even centuries, their endowments can swell into the billions of dollars. In fact, endowments of 25 American universities were worth $5 billion in 2020.
To identify America’s richest universities, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the endowment market value of American colleges, universities, and foundations for fiscal year 2020, provided by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
Many of the schools on this list rank among the oldest in American history and have long been established hubs for higher education and research.
It should come as no surprise that the richest universities are also among the most exclusive. These schools can afford the best faculty, drawing top students from around the world. These students often go on to be successful in their field and donate large financial gifts to the schools after becoming wealthy. Most schools on this list accepted fewer than 10% of applicants in the most recent school year. These are the hardest colleges to get into.