When high school students dream about their futures in college, they think about a lot of different things. Probably at the top of everyone’s list is the social scene and reputation of the school, location, and job placement. Something else that they may consider important in determining which school to attend is the school’s wealth, particularly their budgets. After all, the higher the budget, the better the educational experience the student will receive.
Ivy League universities with a multi-billion dollar per year budgets are going to be able to offer the students more value, simply because they can afford to provide the things that a school with a $200,000 budget can’t. This is one of the reasons we see so many of the world’s most brilliant individuals come from one of the schools on this list. And it’s also why getting an education at a school like Yale or Harvard is so much more expensive than going to community college. Just take a look at how much money these schools are shelling out each year – and how much they’re being given.
Harvard University: $38.3 Billion
This Ivy League school has one of the most competitive application processes in the United States, with an acceptance rate that’s second only to Stanford University. But as far as wealth is concerned, Harvard leads the charge, with an estimated endowment of over $38 billion.
The school has come a long way since it opened its doors in the 1630s. Originally named New College, it was then renamed after its main benefactor, John Harvard. Harvard had donated just over $1,000, along with a large collection of books to get the ball rolling at the university. The first year saw less than a dozen graduates, and they now have over 35,000 students. Several former US leads have graduated from Harvard over the years, from the 2nd president, John Adams, to 44th president, Barack Obama.
Yale University: $29.4 Billion
Yale University is a private Ivy League university in New Haven, Connecticut. It was founded in the early 1700s, and originally known as The Collegiate School. But, like many other prominent universities, it was renamed following a hefty investment by Elihu Yale, Governor of the British East India Trading Company.
Now, the historical university is divided into 14 schools, including the undergraduate school, twelve business schools and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Yale is also quite famous for its elusive secret society known as Skull and Bones. Yale’s Skull and Bones has produced such alum as multiple former presidents including both George H.W. and George W. Bush, along with supreme court justices, CIA directors, a former secretary of defense, major publishing house owners and more. There are several theories surrounding the inner workings of the society, which hails from a university whose endowment is nearly $30 billion. They have been the subject of multiple documentaries and films, including the 2000 thriller, The Skulls.
University of Texas: $30 Billion
Although the first two contenders on this list were private Ivy League institutions, this public school is right up there with them. The University of Texas is valued at over $30 billion and has eight schools spread throughout the area. UT has been referred to as a Public Ivy, meaning it has Ivy League-like qualities even though it’s technically a public school.
Within their eight schools are a total of seventeen libraries and seven museums. Notable alumni from UT (also known as Texas Exes,) include Matthew McConaughey and several Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winners. They lead the charge in medical research and boast multiple medical and cancer research centers. Coming up: see which other Texas university made the list of wealthiest in the world!
Stanford University: $27.7 Billion
Stanford is a private university in Stanford, California. Its endowment is over $27 billion, and it’s one of the hardest schools to get into in the country, much like the others on this list. The university was named after its founder, Leland Stanford, governor of California around the late 1880’s, and their late son, who passed away from typhoid fever in his teens.
Today, it’s one of the most revered schools in the world. It’s known for being one of the leading research schools, but also for its prime location in the Bay Area of sunny California. They enjoy a research budget of over $1.5 billion, and seven schools, including schools for business, law, and medicine. The average alumni salary of a Stanford graduate is well over $100,000, which makes up for the expensive price tag on their education. PayPal founder Elon Musk is one of the university’s most notable alumni.
Princeton University: $23.8 Billion
This year, Princeton University, in Princeton, New Jersey, saw a $2.1 billion increase in their endowment, which is now estimated at around $25.9 billion in total. As a private Ivy League research school, one of the best, in fact, they also enjoy an annual research budget of over $300 million.
The prestigious university was founded in the 1740s and originated as the College of New Jersey. It wasn’t until 1896 it was renamed and moved to its current location. As of this year, there have been over 65 Nobel laureates associated with the school’s alumni list, as well as numerous Supreme Court justices and a few former U.S Presidents. The most popular majors at Princeton include Engineering, Biomedical, and Biological Sciences.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $17.7 Billion
This private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has quite the reputation for providing a top-notch education that’s produced nearly 100 Nobel prize winners. This past year, they enrolled just over 4,600 undergraduates and over 6,900 graduates. With an acceptance rate of just 8%, MIT can be an incredibly tough school to get into come application time. In fact, the average G.P.A in this prestigious university as a whopping 4.17 (yes, on a 4.0 scale.)
The university enjoys regular donations in the hundreds of millions range, and they have a current endowment of over $17.5 billion. Some of MIT’s most notable graduates include astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who graduated with a degree in astronautics in the 1960s, and Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations. Sony’s International Production President, Andrea Wong, earned her bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the university, as well. Coming up: the world’s oldest university also happens to be one of its wealthiest!
University of Notre Dame: $13.1 Billion
Notre Dame, a private Catholic university in Indiana, is perhaps most well-known for its sports teams, the Fighting Irish. Their football notoriety began in the 20th century, thanks to coach Knute Rockne. But their athletics aren’t the only thing that’s appealing about the school, which was established in 1842.
A staff of over 1,300 oversees the student body, which totals about 12,000 annually. They have an incredibly strong network of over 130,000 alumni, some of which include Regis Philbin and astronaut Kevin Ford. Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor, also attended, earning her Master’s in Government and International Studies in 1975. The university has an endowment of just over $13 billion and a budget of nearly $1.3 billion.
University of Pennsylvania: $14.7 Billion
The University of Pennsylvania was first founded as a charity school in 1740. But thanks to the efforts of one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, along with some other key players in Philadelphia, it was transformed into an academy in 1751. Franklin acted as president of the first board of trustees for the school.
The Wall Street Journal ranked the University of Pennsylvania as the 4th best overall university in the United States. There are reportedly over 60 billionaire alumni, 14 heads of state, 33 U.S Senators, 159 members of the House of Representatives, 3 supreme court justices. Not to mention, they boast 8 graduates who signed the Declaration of Independence and 12 who signed the U.S Constitution. This year, the school has reached an endowment of over $14.5 billion.
Texas A&M University: $13.53 Billion
As of late last year, Texas A&M University had an endowment of nearly $13.5 billion, making it one of the wealthiest universities in the world. Their main campus in College Station is one of the largest in the country. The school is a Senior Military College and one of six public universities in the U.S that has a volunteer Corps of Cadets. Texas A&M University consists of 10 colleges and 18 research facilities.
The school has a long list of notable alumni that includes heads of state, university presidents, astronauts, senators, brilliant engineers and more. There have also been nine Nobel laureates to graduate from Texas A&M. They have the largest student body in the state of Texas, and one of the largest in the entire country, boasting nearly 70,000 students this year alone.
University of Michigan: $11.9 Billion
The University of Michigan saw a half a billion increase in its endowment over this past year, bringing it close to $12 billion at the close of 2019. The school is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Among people to come from this midwestern school’s alumni list are 25 Nobel Prize winners, pop queen Madonna and former U.S president, Gerald Ford. The university enjoys an annual budget of nearly $9 billion. They have a fairly large student body and staff, with over 40,000 students and a staff of over 20,000 to help manage everything.
Columbia University: $10.87 Billion
This private Ivy League school was founded in Manhattan in 1754. It is the single oldest higher-education facility in New York and the fifth in the country. The school is one of the top three in the country and known for being hard to get into, with an acceptance rate of just over 5%.
The institute, which has an endowment of around $10.87 billion, has an impressive list of alumni, both living and deceased. Among them are five of the nation’s Founding Fathers, as well as 53 billionaires and three former presidents.
Northwestern University: $11.8 Billion
Northwestern University is a private research school in Illinois. It was established in the early 1850s by John Evans. The city in which it is located, Evanston, is named after the founder. The school is home to a renowned Doctoral program, one that brings in nearly $800 million per year in research funds from sponsors.
The university has grown to accommodate over 20,000 students per year, divided across its three campuses. One of those campuses was just opened in 2008 in Doha, Qatar, which focuses on media and journalism programs. Northwestern’s endowment has grown substantially over the past year or so and is currently estimated at over $11 billion.
University of California: $13.4 Billion
The University of California has one of the largest student bodies of any of the schools on this list. The public school was established in 1868 in Berkley and had a graduating class of nearly 40 people in its first year. Now, there are over 280,000 students in attendance each year. The school has 10 campuses throughout the state of California, including UC San Francisco and UC Irvine.
In 2017, University of California had an annual budget of nearly $35 billion. By the end of that same year, the UC faculty and researches had won 62 Nobel Prizes. One noteworthy alumnus from UC is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Actors George Takei, Brenda Song and Chris Pine also attended.
University Of Virginia: $9.6 Billion
This public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia, was founded 200 years ago by Thomas Jefferson. It has an annual budget of over $1.3 billion, which perhaps lends to the fact the school has produced some top-notch engineers. It’s also seen its fair share of successful entrepreneurs, including the founders of CNET and Reddit.
The school has been named third best of all of the public universities in the U.S, by U.S News & World Report. Among the list of famous alumni from the University of Virginia: former U.S President Robert F. Kennedy, master poet Edgar Allen Poe and funny woman Tina Fey. The school is also known for having an array of secret societies, including six known societies that are active today. Among them are The Purple Shadows, The Sons and Daughters of Liberty, and the all-female group, The Thursdays.
Duke University: $8.5 Billion
Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, was founded by Quakers and Methodists in the 1800s. It was originally located in what is today known as Trinity, before it moved to its current home in Durham in the 1890s. It also had a few different former names before tobacco and power mogul James Buchanan Duke established The Duke Endowment in 1924, at which time the university was renamed in his honor.
Today, that endowment has no reached an impressive $8.5 billion. The university also enjoys a budget of more than $2 billion each year. The prestigious private research school has seen 46 Rhodes Scholars alumnus, and 25 Churchill Scholars. There have also been over a dozen Nobel Prize winners associated with Duke.
University Of Chicago: $8.9 Billion
This private research university in Chicago, Illinois, has been around since the 1890s. It’s well-known for having renowned professional schools, including the Law School, the Booth School of Business and the Pritzker School of Medicine. The university has campuses all over the world, including in Hong Kong, Delhi, and Paris.
As of this year, there have been over 100 Nobel Prize winners to have been associated with the University of Chicago. They also boast 16 billionaire alumni, alongside members of Congress, Pulitzer Prize winners and 18 graduates who have received the MacArthur Genius Grant.
Washington University: $7.5 Billion
Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, was established in 1853, and named after the first president of the United States. The school has grown to include seven schools, including the School of Medicine, which is ranked by U.S News & World Report as the 8th best in the country. In 1976, the school added “in St. Louis,” to their name to curb confusion about where the university was located.
The U.S News & World Report also ranked Washington University in St. Louis as the 19th best undergraduate program in the country for 2020, and 11th by The Wall Street Journal for the same category. The school’s endowment this year was just over $7.5 billion, which lends to all of their amazing programs, including all of the research at the McKelvey School of Engineering. The school has more than 150 National Institute of Health inventions to its name and has played a huge role in the Human Genome Project as well.
Emory University: $7.5 Billion
This private research university in Atlanta was founded as Emory College in the 1830s by the Methodist Church. Now, they are divided into nine schools, including Oxford College, Goizueta Business School, the School of Law, School of Medicine and the Candler School of Theology. They have over 15,000 students per year, who come from all over the world to attend.
Emory University Hospital is world-renowned, and its healthcare system is the largest in Georgia. They have seven major hospitals throughout the state, which include their main branch, a Midtown location, and the Winship Cancer Institute. They have the 17th largest endowment in the nation, at nearly $7.3 billion. Emory University is currently ranked 21st in the nation and 73rd in the world on the U.S News & World Report.
Cornell University: $7.2 Billion
This private Ivy League university, located in upstate New York, was established in 1865 by Ezra Cornell, a philanthropist and businessman who wanted to provide a wide range of educational options. The campus is a beautifully scenic 745 acres, but it’s much larger if you count the Cornell Botanic Gardens (which spread out over more than 4,000 acres.)
Today, the university is comprised of seven graduate and seven undergraduate divisions, sprawled out over its Ithaca campus. They also have two medical campuses, one in NYC and one in Education City, Qatar. Nearly 60 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with Cornell, along with 55 Olympic medalists and 14 (living) billionaires. Ruth Bader Ginsburg attended Cornell, as did Bill Nye, The Science Guy. They have an endowment of just over $7.2 billion.
Rice University: $6.2 Billion
Rice University is a private research school in Houston, Texas. They turn out an impressive level of research and receive over $140 million annually for research expenses. Rice has a fairly small student body, compared to a lot of others on this list, with just over 7,000 in attendance last year.
Rice has close ties to NASA and subsequently has produced a high number of successful astronauts and space scientists. Two Rice alumni have received Nobel Prizes, and a number of them have become the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
University Of Southern California: $5.5 Billion
The University of Southern California was established in the 1860s and has evolved into one of the best private universities in the country. They have an annual budget of over $5 billion and an endowment of $5.5 billion. USC is known for several major technological inventions, including the Domain Name System, antivirus software and DNA computing, among others.
Multiple Nobel Prize winners have emerged from the university, along with major actors who played in 25 of the highest-grossing films in history. Some of the famous alumni to graduate from USC include Neil Armstrong, Will Ferrell, Judd Apatow, and Forest Whitaker. There have also been more than 130 Olympic medal winners affiliated with the school.
Dartmouth: $5.7 Billion
This prestigious Ivy League university is located in picturesque Hanover, New Hampshire. They were originally founded to educate the Native Americans in the English way of life – including Christian theology, though it’s evolved into one of the highest-ranked universities in the country.
There have been several notable alumni to graduate from Dartmouth, including 170 U.S senators and members of The House of Representatives, three Nobel Prize winners, 2 U.S Supreme Court justices and 10 living billionaires. Among the brilliant minds to hail from Dartmouth: Dr. Seuss, Daniel Webster, and Robert Frost.
Ohio State University: $5.2 Billion
Ohio State University is a public university in Columbus, Ohio. It was established in 1870 and was originally the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The name was switched in 1878, and now has a student body of more than 60,000 each year. U.S News & World Report ranked OSU as the 17th best public school in the United States in 2019.
OSU has their fair share of notable alumni, including multiple Nobel and Pulitzer Prize recipients. There have also been numerous Olympic gold medalists, not to mention all of the silver and bronze winners, to come from the university.
Vanderbilt University: $6.4 Billion
Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, was founded in the 1870s. It was named for a shipping and railroad mogul who gave the school its original endowment of $1 million. Today, that million has become nearly $6.5 billion and it continues to grow. The school caters to over 13,000 students each year, with a faculty of just over 1,800.
45 former and current members of the U.S Congress, 10 billionaires, 14 U.S Ambassadors, and 17 governors, among other notable titles, have graduated from Vanderbilt over the years. Not to mention the Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, and Academy Award winners.
Johns Hopkins University - $4.3 Billion
This private research university was founded in Maryland in 1876, and named for the abolitionist Johns Hopkins, who donated $7 million to kick things off for the institution. They spend over $2 billion per year in research and are actually considered the first research university in the country.
Today, Johns Hopkins is divided into 10 schools, on campuses in both Maryland and Washington, D.C. U.S News & World Report ranked the university 10th in the nation for 2019, although the Bloomberg School of Public Health ranked 1st for medical research, followed by the School of Medicine in 3rd place. Johns Hopkins has also been ranked as number one as far as receiving research grants is concerned.
Pennsylvania State University - $4.2 Billion
Penn State, also known as Pennsylvania State University, is a public university that was established in 1855. They’ve been dubbed a “public Ivy,” thanks to their prestigious educational programs and facilities. What originally began as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania has grown into multiple campuses across the state, which hold over 95,000 students.
The school’s annual Panhellenic Dance Marathon is the largest student-run philanthropic event in the world. In 2013, they managed to raise a record-breaking $13.3 million. Penn State was ranked as the 74th best university in the world in 2018, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
New York University - $4.2 Billion
NYU is a private research university located in Lower Manhattan, New York City. They also have campuses sprinkled throughout the world, including locations in Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, London, and Los Angeles. The school has an endowment of over $4 billion, with a budget of over $11 billion per year.
They have a large student body, with over 50,000 in attendance last year. NYU also has a long list of notable alumni. The university has produced 30 Pulitzer Prize-winning graduates, 37 Nobel Prize winners, 30 Academy Award winners and several members of Congress.
University Of Pittsburgh - $4.2 Billion
The University of Pittsburgh sometimes just referred to as “Pitt,” was established in 1787 as Pittsburgh Academy. Over the years, it caught fire – twice – and moved locations a few times until it settled into its current spot in the Oakland neighborhood. The university was private until it became part of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education in 1966.
Now, it’s 132-acre campus is home to nearly 29,000 students. The school is split into 17 graduate and undergraduate sections, including the 42-story Cathedral of Learning. The annual budget that Pitt works with is over $2 billion, including $940 million in research. They are ranked 16th highest in research in the nation.
Oxford University: $8 Billion
Oxford is regarded as the oldest university in the English-speaking world, with teachings beginning there right around 1100. It has grown to become one of society’s most prestigious universities. With an endowment of around $8 billion and an annual budget of over $2 billion.
Oxford caters to more than 23,000 students. Notable alumni include 72 Nobel Prize winners and 28 Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom. Former U.S president Bill Clinton also graduated from the English university.
Cambridge University: $7.5 Billion
Established in 1209, Cambridge is the second-oldest English university in the world. They remain ranked as the best university in the UK, according to the three major national rankings. There have been 120 Nobel Prize winners to come from Cambridge, along with 14 British Prime Ministers.
Their endowment has increased substantially over the past few years and is currently around $7.5 billion, with an annual research budget of over $300 million. Since Cambridge is nearly as old as Oxford, they’re often regarded as “ancient universities,” and sometimes, “Oxbridge.” Some of the most famous names in history that have been affiliated with Cambridge are Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Lord Byron.
The University Of Minnesota, Twin Cities - $3.7 Billion
The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, is a public research university with a split campus that consists of two parts that are three miles apart between Minneapolis and St. Paul. The school, which was established in 1851, is the oldest in the state. The university is known as a Public Ivy, thanks to its stellar academic qualities.
The student body of the University of Minnesota is the sixth-largest in the country, with over 47,000 in attendance last year alone. Between alumni, researchers, and faculty, there have been 26 Nobel Prize winners associated with the school. Music superstar Bob Dylan, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, attended from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. He lived near the campus and would perform in bars around the school. Other notable alumni include former U.S vice presidents, Humphrey and Mondale.
Brown University - $4.2 Billion
This private Ivy League research university was founded in 1764 and was originally known as College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. They are the seventh oldest higher learning facility in the nation and were the first to allow students regardless of which religion they identified with.
They have an endowment of over $4.2 billion, which is quite a bit higher than the previous year. Notable Brown alumni include eight Nobel Prize winners, 54 members of Congress, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners and a U.S Supreme Court justice.
Michigan State University - $3.2 Billion
MSU is a public university located in East Lansing, Michigan. It was established in 1855 as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. The school is one of the largest higher learning facilities in the country and has a student body of over 50,000.
According to the U.S News & World Report, MSU has some of the best graduate programs in the nation. On the list are their rehabilitation counseling, elementary and secondary teacher’s education and nuclear physics programs. The university, which has an endowment of over $3.2 billion, is well-known for its athletics teams, The Spartans.
University Of Illinois - $3.4 Billion
This public land-grant university was established in 1867. They’re classified as a Doctoral Research University for their high research activity, which is accompanied by a budget of over $2 billion, over $640 million of which was used for research expenses in 2017 alone.
The university has an endowment of over $3.4 billion and has produced several notable alumni. Among the list of accomplished individuals affiliated with the University of Illinois are 30 Nobel Prize winners. The library on campus is the largest of any university in the U.S, second only to Harvard.
The University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill - $5.4 Billion
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill saw its first students in 1795, making it one of the oldest public schools in the United States. The campus has grown to accommodate nearly 30,000 students per year. Students are divided among 17 campuses and 14 colleges and choose from over 70 courses of study.
The beautiful Chapel Hill campus covers 729 acres of the downtown area. It has an estimated endowment of over $5.4 billion as of 2017. Notable alumni and faculty from the university include 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, 9 Nobel Prize winners, one U.S president, and a U.S vice president. UNC is ranked 30th in the entire world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
California Institute Of Technology - $2.9 Billion
This private research university, which is commonly referred to as Caltech, is located in Pasadena, California. It first opened its doors in 1891 as a preparatory and vocational school. It’s grown into one of the most respected research universities in the country and spends over $300 million per year on associated costs. Their endowment is nearly $3 billion, and they have a student body of just under 2,300.
The university boasts many accomplished alumni and faculty, including 74 Nobel laureates and 71 winners of the National Medal of Science and Technology. According to a study done by Pomona College in 2015, Caltech has the highest rate of graduates that go on to earn their PhDs.
The University Of Wisconsin - $2.8 Billion
The University of Wisconsin is a public research school in Madison. It was established in 1848 and is today split into 20 schools that serve over 44,000 students per year. The university is a Public Ivy, with an endowment of over $2.9 billion. In 2012, their research costs exceeded $1 billion, which was more affordable with their hefty donation of $25 million a few years prior that had come from a pool of over a dozen graduates.
Billionaire businessman and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs attended UW, as did famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. UW has four National Historic Landmarks on its campus next to Lake Mendota. The University of Wisconsin is ranked in the top speech pathology master’s degree programs in the country, among several of its other programs.
Purdue University - $2.5 Billion
This public research university, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, was founded in 1869. It was all made possible by local businessman, John Purdue, who donated both the land and money needed to get everything started. They have grown to become a world-renowned school, 56th, according to U.S News & World Report.
The school has an endowment of over $2.5 billion, and an annual budget of nearly the same amount. They have been classified as an R1: Doctoral University, due to their high research activity. There have been several notable graduates to emerge from Purdue, including 25 astronauts. Between the alumni and faculty, there have also been over a dozen Nobel Prize winners from the school.
The University Of Washington - $3.4 Billion
The University of Washington is a public research university in Seattle. It was established in 1861 and has grown into one of the best schools in the world. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings cites UW as one of the leading universities in scientific performance and research. In 2015, they received over $1 billion in research funding, although their total yearly budget is closer to $7.5 billion.
There were nearly 48,000 students in attendance last year, and about 16,000 faculty members. Several Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners have been affiliated with the University of Washington, as well as Rhodes and Marshall Scholars, among many other prestigious organizations.
St. Mary's University - South Bend: $133.1 Million
St. Mary’s College, located in Indiana, is a Catholic all women’s university. They were established in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. The school has a small student body and faculty, compared to others on this list, with just over 1,600 students and around 200 teachers on the record for 2018.
St. Mary’s caters to undergraduates, providing 5 different bachelor’s degree programs with 30 routes of study. They also offer two graduate degree programs: a Doctorate and a Master of Science. Carol Ann Mooney, the 11th president of the university, is an alumnus herself, as is U.S Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.