Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Colleges that are richer than some countries

  • Colleges that are richer than some countries

    There are a handful of incredible locations around the world where one can’t help but feel the money that went into sculpting the grandiose ambiance. Though it used to be the case that only the likes of luxurious hotels and restaurants could synthesize these kinds of environments, stepping onto the campus of one of America’s top colleges can now have that very same effect.

    America’s public schooling system may be in trouble, but its top universities are anything but. Putting some higher-education finances into context helps in understanding the true scale of their riches, which go well beyond ornate architecture, funding for major research and advanced technologies, or the top-of-the-line amenities available at many colleges.

    University endowments work like tax-exempt hedge funds; since most private institutions are nonprofits, excluding major for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix, the money they invest isn't subject to taxation and universities can feel free to use any portion of the investment returns on financial aid, better food in the dining halls, student outreach, or any number of typical functions. An endowment tax passed with the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will soon add a small tax to certain institutions with resources of more than $500,000 per student, which applies to many of the universities on this list, however. 

    As it turns out, a plethora of American institutions of higher learning boast estimated endowments greater than $2 billion, meaning their wealth not only exceeds that of many large companies but that of 14 different nations. Using data from the National Association of College and University Business Officers Endowment Study 2018, Stacker compiled a list of the 50 American colleges with the most substantial endowments, each of which exceeds the total wealth of several nations around the world. To determine the total wealth of any given country, Stacker referenced Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report 2018.

    Read on to see which colleges (and countries) made the list.

    You may also like: 50 best colleges on the East Coast

  • #50. Wellesley College

    - Location: Wellesley, MA
    - 2018 endowment: $2.1 billion (up 9% from 2017)
    - More wealth than: 26 countries
    - Wealth equal to: Maldives ($2.1B) with $6 million leftover

  • #49. Swarthmore College

    - Location: Swarthmore, PA
    - 2018 endowment: $2.1 billion (up 8.2% from 2017)
    - More wealth than: 26 countries
    - Wealth equal to: Maldives ($2.1B) with $16 million leftover

  • #48. Rockefeller University

    - Location: New York, NY
    - 2018 endowment: $2.2 billion (up 7.1% from 2017)
    - More wealth than: 27 countries
    - Wealth equal to: Guyana ($2.2B) with $2 million leftover

  • #47. Boston University

    - Location: Boston, MA
    - 2018 endowment: $2.2 billion (up 12.3% from 2017)
    - More wealth than: 27 countries
    - Wealth equal to: Guyana ($2.2B) with $6 million leftover

  • #46. University of Rochester

    - Location: Rochester, NY
    - 2018 endowment: $2.3 billion (up 6.4% from 2017)
    - More wealth than: 27 countries
    - Wealth equal to: Guyana ($2.2B) with $65 million leftover

  • #45. Pomona College

    - Location: Claremont, CA
    - 2018 endowment: $2.3 billion (up 4.9% from 2017)
    - More wealth than: 27 countries
    - Wealth equal to: Guyana ($2.2B) with $81 million leftover

  • #44. Amherst College

    - Location: Amherst, MA
    - 2018 endowment: $2.4 billion (up 5.8% from 2017)
    - More wealth than: 28 countries
    - Wealth equal to: Liberia ($2.3B) with $64 million leftover

  • #43. Carnegie Mellon University

    - Location: Pittsburgh, PA
    - 2018 endowment: $2.4 billion (up 10.8% from 2017)
    - More wealth than: 28 countries
    - Wealth equal to: Liberia ($2.3B) with $73 million leftover

  • #42. Indiana University

    - Location: Bloomington, IN
    - 2018 endowment: $2.4 billion (up 7.5% from 2017)
    - More wealth than: 28 countries
    - Wealth equal to: Liberia ($2.3B) with $84 million leftover

  • #41. Boston College

    - Location: Chestnut Hill, MA
    - 2018 endowment: $2.5 billion (up 6.9% from 2017)
    - More wealth than: 28 countries
    - Wealth equal to: Liberia ($2.3B) and Mayotte ($0.1B) with $64 million leftover