Colleges with the Largest Endowments

After looking at the nation’s most expensive colleges, we thought it would be interesting to look at the colleges that have the largest endowments. To our surprise, none of the top 25 most expensive colleges made it into the top 25 largest endowments. It is also interesting to note that all of the colleges in the Top 25 of the US News Best Colleges for 2010 (with the exception of Carnegie Mellon and Georgetown) are in the top 33 for highest endowments.

During fiscal year 2008, college and university endowments had an average return of -3 percent. Still, 77 institutions have endowments over $1 billion.

Please note these are numbers for 2008. The numbers for 2009 will be a different story as many endowments have suffered great losses. Harvard’s endowment has dropped 27.3% to $26 billion and Yale has suffered a near 30% drop down to about $16 billion. At Harvard, the loss is the biggest percentage decline in 40 years.


Largest College Endowments for 2008

Institution2008 Endowment% Change
1. Harvard University $36,556,284,000 5.5%
2. Yale University $22,869,700,000 1.5%
3. Stanford University $17,200,000,000 0.2%
4. Princeton University $16,349,329,000 3.6%
5. University of Texas System $16,111,184,000 3.2%
6. MIT $10,068,800,000 0.9%
7. University of Michigan $7,571,904,000 6.8%
8. Northwestern University $7,243,948,000 11.4%
9. Columbia University $7,146,806,000 0.0%
10. Texas A&M University System $6,659,352,000 1.0%
11. University of Chicago $6,632,311,000 6.9%
12. University of Pennsylvania $6,233,281,000 -6.1%
13. University of Notre Dame $6,225,688,000 4.2%
14. University of California $6,217,340,000 -3.4%
15. Duke University $6,123,743,000 3.6%
16. Emory University $5,472,528,000 -1.6%
17. Cornell University $5,385,482,000 2.6%
18. Washington University $5,350,470,000 -3.9%
19. Rice University $4,610,164,000 -1.3%
20. University of Virginia $4,572,613,000 4.6%
21. Dartmouth College $3,660,159,000 -2.7%
22. University of Southern California $3,589,225,000 -3.4%
23. Vanderbilt University $3,524,338,000 0.1%
24. University of Minnesota $2,750,770,000 -1.9%
25. Brown University $2,746,832,000 4.3%

See the full list here (PDF).

Data Source: Nacubo.org