Largest University Endowments
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Endowments are funds put aside for a specific purpose. University endowments often include money and other assets donated to the school from some source. Schools uses these funds for many things. That includes research, teaching, and even public service goals. They are a powerful tool to help fund some of the latest innovations. Often, the largest university endowments translate into the best schools.
What Are University Endowments?
University endowments are a type of investment. What makes them unique is that they are structured in such a way as to allow the funds to last indefinitely, based on very strict financial guidelines. These funds typically have long-term guidelines put in place to help ensure the asset grows. It does this without as much risk as other types of investments. As a result, the university maintains a significant amount in the fund to meet ongoing needs.
What Is the Purpose of a University Endowment?
An endowment can work for many things. University endowments typically help finance some aspect of the school’s efforts. This could include supporting operations. It may include professorships. They often include scholarships as well. These are scholarships awarded from the endowment to students attending the school. Endowments are a valuable source of revenue for schools. They typically become an essential lifeline for some organizations. For others, the funds let the schools innovative, expand, grow, and change to meet new needs. Attending a school with the largest university endowments could mean more access to scholarships and better educational tools.
How Do They Work?
An endowment is given to the school. There is usually a specific goal or use for the funds. With scholarships, there may be requirements for students applying for them. The endowment goes into place. Over time, it builds value when the investments within it perform well. That helps to replenish the available to use funds. The school can award scholarships or use the funds as determined by the endowment on an annual basis.
Students who wish to access these endowments can do so by following the scholarship application requirements. These differ from one school to the next. Many schools have more than one endowment. The rules can vary between them. Look at some of the wealthiest universities in the United States based on modern market value.
Largest University Endowment Colleges
Which schools have the largest university endowments?
- Harvard University
- University of Texas System
- Yale University
- Stanford University
- Princeton University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- University of Pennsylvania
- Texas A&M University System
- University of Michigan
- Northwestern University
- University of California System
- Columbia University
- University of Notre Dame
- Duke University
- University of Chicago
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Emory University
- Cornell University
- University of Virginia
- Rice University
- University of Southern California
- Dartmouth College
- Ohio State University
- Vanderbilt University
- Johns Hopkins University
Let’s take a closer look at each of these schools as a study of endowments. Consider what each of these schools really has to offer.
1Harvard University – $38.3 Billion
Harvard University has the largest university endowment in the U.S. It is easily recognized as an Ivy League school with much to offer as one of the richest universities in the world. The school has numerous endowments. The largest single-gift donor was John A. Paulson, an alumnus who donated $400 million to Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Numerous donations of over $100 million have included gifts from David Rockefeller, Kenneth C. Griffin, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Emily Rauh Pultizer.
2University of Texas System – $30.8 Billion
The University of Texas System has a heavy endowment history dating back to its founding in 1876. The funds here come from numerous donations including from Hearst Corp., Moody Foundation, and Mulva Family Foundation. The school uses these funds for many things including for the development of numerous schools including the establishment of the Bill & Melinda Gates Science Complex.
3Yale University – $29.3 Billion
Yale, another Ivy League school, has received numerous donations to fund various endowments including $50 million from John C. Malone and $250 million from Charles B. Johnson. The funds, along with numerous other assets, help support scholarships, research and development, and other efforts.
4Stanford University – $26.4 Billion
Stanford is recognized for its medicine, law, and engineering programs, as well as others. The school has a long history of financial support from alumni and other sources. Recent investments include Nike’s co-founder, Philip K. Knight who gave $400 million in 2016. The school uses the funds to support scholarship opportunities as well as for innovation development.
5Princeton University – $25.9 Billion
As one of the oldest schools, having been founded in 1746, Princeton is well-recognized internationally especially for its arts programs, education programs, and medicine. The school receives donations for endowments routinely. Its largest comes from alumnus William H. Scheide in the form of rare books. Princeton’s endowments support a range of operational needs, but also research programs and arts programs.
6Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – $16.5 Billion
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a world-recognized leader in science, engineering, and tech. It has routinely been supported through donations and endowments including $350 million from Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone CEO and $250 million from the F. W. Olin Foundation. A great deal of its endowments goes to support the incoming students through scholarships. Research projects in higher education are also heavily funded using endowments here.
7University of Pennsylvania – $13.7 Billion
Benjamin Franklin co-founded the University of Pennsylvania. It is a heavily business-oriented school. Large donations for the university’s endowments have come from many establishments. That includes Raymond and Ruth Perelman with a $225 million donation. It also receives $400 million in private donations annually. These funds largely go to support student scholarships and operations. It is one of the richest public universities.
8Texas A&M University System – $13.5 Billion
Spanning 11 campuses, Texas A&M is one of the largest in the U.S. Fundraising has helped establish many of the school’s endowments including $740 million in fiscal year 2013 alone. This is a heavily science-based school with significant ties to the National Institutes of Health and NASA. Much of its funding goes towards scholarships and science research and development.
9University of Michigan – $11.9 Billion
An early benefactor to the University of Michigan was the Ford Motor Company. Stephen M. Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, contributed the largest single donation of $100 million. The school also does well with fundraising to help support endowments. It is generous with its scholarship opportunities from endowments. Other funds sustain operations and support research programs.
10Northwestern University – $11 Billion
Northwestern, a school with significant real estate as assets, also has been gifted many times to establish its endowments. The school also has seen significant success from its Innovation and New Venture Office. Since it opened it, the school has seen $75 million per year in revenue from the program. This, along with private donations, help the school to fund research programs, its medical school innovations, and scholarships.
11University of California System – $11 Billion
The University of California has numerous consistent donations each year to create and maintain endowments. This includes $500 million from BP. Individual schools also receive endowment and donations. Much of this goes towards the school’s research programs with scholarship support as well.
12Columbia University – $10.6 Billion
Founded as King’s College in 1754, Columbia University has grown to be one of the most recognized. It receives donations routinely from alumni and private organizations. It also does well in its patent business. That brings in about $200 million annually to support endowment projects such as scholarships and operations.
13University of Notre Dame – $10.7 Billion
This Catholic University has a long history of support. Its largest single donation came from Kenn and Pamela Ricci of $100 million. Other supporters included NetApp executives Tom and Kathy Mendoza and the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies program, founded by the McDonald’s founding family. Much of its endowments go towards tuition and mission programs. Some support science and research programs.
14Duke University – $8.5 Billion
The endowment at Duke comes from numerous private donations. Many of them are an alumnus. The school’s largest benefactor is Washington Duke who donated the land for the school. It is known for its school of engineering and business programs. Much of its endowment goes to student scholarships. Others are focused on research and innovation programs.
15University of Chicago – $7.9 Billion
John D. Rockefeller established the school with a $600,000 donation in 1890. Davie G. Booth, an alumnus, is the school’s largest benefactor. He gave $300 million to the school. Many of its endowments have gone to help support the schools of business and medicine. A new center for the arts also came from endowment funds. It is also one of the largest scholarship providers on this list.
16Washington University in St. Louis – $7.5 Billion
George Warren Brown is the largest single donor provider at Washington University in St. Louis. Additional funds came from John M. Olin. This established the school’s library and business school. The endowments for this school are often from alumni. The funds support scholarships for new students. It also uses the funds heavily for research and innovation programs. Its medical school is well-recognized. Funding often goes towards healthcare improvement.
17Emory University – $7.2 Billion
Emory University is recognized for its engineering fields. It also noted for its nursing programs. Many of the donations provided here go to these programs. Robert W. Woodruff, a former Coca-Cola president, is the school’s largest benefactor. Much of its endowments go right back into the development of new programs and research efforts. Scholarships get a good amount of the funds, too.
18Cornell University – $7.2 Billion
Cornell has a strong legal program, business program, and Southeast Asian studies program. It is also a strong architecture school. Much of its worth comes from the land it owns. The school receives much of its endowments from alumni. Large benefactors included Samuel Curtis Johnson and Charles H. Dyson. Scholarships, research and development, and school upgrades have been large uses for endowment funds over the years.
19University of Virginia – $6.9 Billion
Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia is one of the largest programs. It is also a World Heritage Site. It receives numerous donations including a $100 million gift from Frank Batten, Sr. A $2.5 million donation from Anheuser-Busch helped the school established the recognized National Social Norm Institute. Its endowment funds support many new programs. This includes operations funds, scholarships, other financial aid, and research programs.
20Rice University – $6.2 Billion
Rice University’s first benefactor, William Marsh Rice, donated $4.6 million to start the school. A $50 million donation from John and Ann Doerr is the largest the school has received. The school has a strong reputation in areas of science and tech along with business. The endowment funds typically go to support operations, school launches, scholarships, and the development of new programs.
21University of Southern California – $5.5 Billion
Recognized for film, engineering, medicine, and business. Its largest donations came from W.M. Keck Foundation with $110 million, Gordon S. Marshall, an alumnus, who donated $35 million, and the Price Family Charitable Fund offering $50 million. Endowments support student scholarships and needs. Some have also helped establish new schools and programs. This school also has a large research base.
22Dartmouth College – $5.4 Billion
As one of the largest landowners in the state, Dartmouth’s endowment assets help to secure the school’s overall assets. The school has received large donations for endowments from many people. This includes Audrey and Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, Sylvanus Thayer, and Amos Truck. Funds typically help open new schools. The school also is generous with scholarship funds from endowments.
23Ohio State University – $5.2 Billion
The Ohio State University has numerous benefactors, many of which are alumni. The school received a $65 million donation from Leslie and Abigail Wexner, for example. Much of the funds go towards the school’s impressive research programs. It has heavy science and medicine research and innovation schools. The school also offers scholarships to students for some of the endowment funds.
24Vanderbilt University – $4.6 Billion
Vanderbilt’s numerous donations and endowments helped it to become the school of science and medicine it is today. It offers numerous impressive medical facilities to show for much of the donations it has received. Most come from private donors, without any single donation standing out. Alumni heavily support this school. It offers endowment scholarships and research program awards.
25John Hopkins University – $4.3 Billion
Johns Hopkins, a known philanthropist, founded Johns Hopkins University in 1876. He did so with a goal of becoming a leading research school. That is exactly what it has become. It received many grants and awards for its innovative programs. Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor, donated $350 million to the school. Much of these endowments go towards the funding of research programs – it is the largest school in expenses for research programs in the world. Scholarships are available, too.