Special Report

America’s 25 Richest Universities

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15. Washington University
> 2020 endowment: $8.4 billion
> Change from 2019: +5.9%
> Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
> Fall 2019 undergraduate enrollment: 16,191
> Typical earnings 10 years after entry: $70,100

The endowment of Washington University grew by 5.9% — from less than $8 billion to over $8.4 billion — more than triple the average increase among all university endowments throughout fiscal 2020. The school is known for its engineering, business, and computer science programs.

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14. Duke University
> 2020 endowment: $8.5 billion
> Change from 2019: -1.6%
> Location: Durham, North Carolina
> Fall 2019 undergraduate enrollment: 16,686
> Typical earnings 10 years after entry: $84,400

Duke University’s endowment declined by more than $100 million throughout fiscal 2020, a year when many schools struggled with their finances, as the COVID-19 pandemic shook the financial world. Nationwide, the average endowment increased by 1.6% that year, down from 5.3% the year before. Duke University students tend to go on to be financially successful, with most earning over $84,000 10 years after entering the school. At most schools, this figure is less than $48,000.

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13. Northwestern University
> 2020 endowment: $10.9 billion
> Change from 2019: -1.5%
> Location: Evanston, Illinois
> Fall 2019 undergraduate enrollment: 22,448
> Typical earnings 10 years after entry: $69,000

Northwestern University, located just north of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois, is one of just 13 U.S. universities with an endowment of more than $10 billion. The school’s endowment was over $11 billion in 2019, but it declined by 1.5% during 2020. A prestigious private institution, Northwestern’s students had a median SAT score of 1490 out of 1600, one of the highest scores in the nation.

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12. Columbia University
> 2020 endowment: $11.3 billion
> Change from 2019: +2.8%
> Location: New York, New York
> Fall 2019 undergraduate enrollment: 31,456
> Typical earnings 10 years after entry: $83,300

Columbia University is an Ivy League school located in New York City. Its endowment in 2020 reached $11.3 billion — equivalent to nearly $400,000 per student. Columbia is one of the most difficult schools to get into in the country. Its 5.4% acceptance rate is the third lowest in the nation, and the median SAT score among incoming first-year students for 2018 of 1505 out of 1600 was among the 10 highest in the nation.

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11. University of Notre Dame
> 2020 endowment: $12.0 billion
> Change from 2019: +6.2%
> Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
> Fall 2019 undergraduate enrollment: 12,683
> Typical earnings 10 years after entry: $78,400

University of Notre Dame’s endowment in 2020 was nearly $12 billion, up nearly $700 million from the year before — a 6.2% increase. Nationwide, the average endowment grew by just 1.6% in 2020, down from a 5.3% increase in 2019 and 8.2% the year before that. The private school is affiliated with the Catholic Church, making it one of the only explicitly religious institutions on this list.