Largest University Endowments

Get Matched To Online Schools Using Our Degree Finder!

Endowments embody allocated funds with a designated purpose. Largest university endowments frequently encompass financial resources and additional assets generously contributed to the institution by various benefactors. Educational establishments utilize these resources for diverse purposes, spanning research, instructional activities, and even pursuits aligned with public service aspirations. These endowments wield substantial influence as a means to finance cutting-edge advancements. Significantly, the preeminence of educational institutions is often mirrored by the magnitude of their university endowments.

What Are University Endowments?

University endowments constitute a distinctive form of investment. Their uniqueness stems from their meticulous structure designed to sustain the funds indefinitely, guided by stringent financial protocols. These resources generally adhere to long-term directives that promote steady asset growth while minimizing the risk inherent in other investment avenues. Consequently, the university upholds a substantial balance within the fund to fulfill ongoing requirements.

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 bestowed upon the institution, typically with a specific purpose or objective for the allocated funds. In cases involving scholarships, certain criteria might be applicable to students seeking access. Once established, the endowment takes effect and gradually accumulates value through successful investment performance. This contributes to the renewal of available funds for utilization. Periodically, the university can allocate scholarships or deploy the funds in alignment with the endowment’s stipulations.

Students seeking to benefit from these endowments must adhere to the prerequisites outlined in the scholarship application process. These criteria tend to vary among different educational institutions. Many universities possess multiple endowments, each governed by distinct regulations. Consider examining some of the most affluent universities in the United States, as determined by their contemporary market value.

Largest University Endowment Colleges

Which schools have the largest university endowments?

  1. Harvard University
  2. University of Texas System
  3. Yale University
  4. Stanford University
  5. Princeton University
  6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  7. University of Pennsylvania
  8. Texas A&M University System
  9. University of Michigan
  10. Northwestern University
  11. University of California System
  12. Columbia University
  13. University of Notre Dame
  14. Duke University
  15. University of Chicago
  16. Washington University in St. Louis
  17. Emory University
  18. Cornell University
  19. University of Virginia
  20. Rice University
  21. University of Southern California
  22. Dartmouth College
  23. Ohio State University
  24. Vanderbilt University
  25. 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 – $53.2 Billion
Visit School

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 – $42.9 Billion
Visit School

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 – $41.4 Billion
Visit School

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 – $37.8 Billion
Visit School

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 – $35.8 Billion
Visit School

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) – $24.6 Billion
Visit School

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 – $20.7 Billion
Visit School

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 – $16.9 Billion
Visit School

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 – $17 Billion
Visit School

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 – $14.4 Billion
Visit School

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 – $28 Billion
Visit School

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 – $13.3 Billion
Visit School

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 – $20.3 Billion
Visit School

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 – $12.1 Billion
Visit School

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 – $10.3 Billion
Visit School

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 – $15.3 Billion
Visit School

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 – $11 Billion
Visit School

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 – $9.8 Billion
Visit School

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 – $14.5 Billion
Visit School

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 – $7.8 Billion
Visit School

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 – $8.1 Billion
Visit School

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 – $8.1 Billion
Visit School

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 – $7.4 Billion
Visit School

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 – $10.2 Billion
Visit School

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 – $8.2 Billion
Visit School

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.

© Education Connection 2024. All Rights Reserved.


Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Disclosure: EducationDynamics receives compensation for the featured schools on our websites (see “Sponsored Schools” or “Sponsored Listings” or “Sponsored Results”).  So what does this mean for you? Compensation may impact where the Sponsored Schools appear on our websites, including whether they appear as a match through our education matching services tool, the order in which they appear in a listing, and/or their ranking.  Our websites do not provide, nor are they intended to provide, a comprehensive list of all schools (a) in the United States (b) located in a specific geographic area or (c) that offer a particular program of study.  By providing information or agreeing to be contacted by a Sponsored School, you are in no way obligated to apply to or enroll with the school.

This is an offer for educational opportunities, not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The financial aid information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.

1 You must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students with a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan in the 2018/19 school year who were approved when they returned in 2019/20. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2019/20.

2 This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with new loans that disburse between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022. Borrowers are not eligible to activate the benefit until July 1, 2021. Borrowers who reside in, attend school in, or borrow for a student attending school in Maine are not eligible for this benefit. Chegg Study® offers expert Q&A where students can submit up to 20 questions per month. No cash value. Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.

Sponsored Results

Study anywhere. Study any time.

Join the millions earning their degrees online.

7 million undergraduate and graduate students were enrolled in some form of online education in 2019!*