Endowments at these schools range from about $14 billion to $53 billion, U.S. News data shows.
College endowments, a collection of tax-exempt donations and investments used to advance an institution’s mission, vary widely. While some hover in the millions, others, such as at Harvard University in Massachusetts, reach well into the billions.
Topping the list at about $53 billion, Harvard has the largest endowment among National Universities at the end of fiscal year 2021, according to data collected by U.S. News in an annual survey. Totaling around $42 billion – $11 billion less than Harvard – Yale University in Connecticut has the second-highest endowment.
The average endowment at the top 10 National Universities with the biggest endowments is about $28.4 billion.
But multi-billion dollar endowments are not common in higher education. Of the 397 ranked National Universities – institutions that are often research-oriented and offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees – that submitted this data to U.S. News, the average endowment size is around $1.7 billion.
That number is significantly less among the 10 universities with the smallest endowments. The average comes out to nearly $8.7 million, with the lowest being $348,967 at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
The majority of the schools on the top-10 endowments list are among the highest-ranked colleges by U.S. News: Eight are ranked in the top 20 of all National Universities, many of which come with a hefty price tag. Stanford University in California, for instance, is charging $56,169 for tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 academic year.
However, schools with more wealth are usually able to offer generous financial aid packages to keep the cost of attendance down. Stanford is among schools that meet the full demonstrated need, without loans, of all admitted undergraduates who qualify for financial assistance, so families aren’t necessarily paying the advertised sticker price.
The chart below shows the 10 National Universities with the largest endowments at the conclusion of fiscal year 2021. Endowments were examined by campus, not across public university systems, and are not used as a factor in the overall rankings. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.
END OF FISCAL YEAR 2021 ENDOWMENT
U.S. NEWS RANK
|Harvard University (MA)||$53,200,000,000||3 (tie)|
|Yale University (CT)||$42,300,000,000||3 (tie)|
|Stanford University (CA)||$37,800,000,000||3 (tie)|
|Princeton University (NJ)||$37,000,000,000||1|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||$27,400,000,000||2|
|University of Pennsylvania||$20,500,000,000||7 (tie)|
|University of Notre Dame (IN)||$18,400,000,000||18 (tie)|
|Texas A&M University||$16,900,000,000||67 (tie)|
|University of Michigan—Ann Arbor||$16,800,000,000||25 (tie)|
|Washington University in St. Louis (MO)||$13,700,000,000||15 (tie)|
Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find endowment figures, complete rankings and much more. Sign up for the U.S. News Extra Help: College Admissions free email newsletter to receive expert advice twice a month.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,850 colleges and universities for our 2022 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News produces lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The endowment data above is correct as of Sept. 12, 2022.