Top 10 Colleges With The Largest Endowments (2020)



Endowments often form the biggest source of financial aid for most colleges and universities in America. Colleges use part of this endowment money on various expenses, mostly on long term plans to improve the campus facilities. An almost equal part of their endowment money is reserved to fund financial aid programs and student scholarships.

These are the top 10 colleges with the largest endowments:

A college library filled with books.

1. Harvard University — $37,096,474,000

All of the schools on this list are well-known names, but Harvard might just be the most famous. While the university has a steep sticker price—at nearly $75,000—Harvard’s endowment assures that students earn a generous financial aid package that makes attendance much more affordable.

Interested in Harvard? The competition is stiff. The acceptance rate sits at 5.2%. Nearly 40,000 applications are sent in every year, so make sure your app really stands out.

2. Yale University — $27,216,639,000

Yale ranks among the most elite of the US universities, and for good reason. It’s been a powerhouse since its foundation in 1701 (though initially it was called the Collegiate School). Economics, Political Science, and History are the three most popular majors studied at the school.

On average, incoming students score between 32 and 35 on the ACT, and between 1470 and 1580 on the SAT. So if you’re interested, your test scores should be close to perfect. Study up!

3. Stanford University — $24,784,943,000

The East Coast isn’t the only place with amazing universities, of course. Out in California, there is the mighty Stanford University. Ranked as the #5 best college of 2020 by College Raptor, Stanford is a fantastic school that sees 44,000 incoming applications per year.

Computer Science, Human Biology, Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Economics, and Industrial Management are all popular majors. Interested in any of those fields? Stanford might be for you.

4. Princeton University — $23,353,233,273

Though it falls as #4 in terms of endowment, Princeton ranks #1 best college overall in the country on our Best Colleges of 2020 list. You could say it’s putting the Prince in Princeton. Being #1, it should come as no surprise that Princeton has one of the highest first-year retention rate percentages in the country—an impressive 98%.

Additionally, Princeton has a cozy 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring students get plenty of one-on-one time with their professors. If you’re eager to graduate within the standard four years, Princeton is a great university to attend. They have a very high 90% 4-year graduation rate. The 6-year rate is 97%.

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology — $14,832,483,000

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, more commonly called simply MIT, is a pillar of science. By far and away the most popular major at MIT is Computer Science, which likely comes as no surprise.

Despite its big name, MIT has a very small student to faculty ratio, at 3:1. Did you know MIT is one of the only colleges where graduate students outnumber the undergraduates? At MIT, 60% of the students are studying at the graduate level.

6. University of Pennsylvania — $12,213,207,000

Like many, if not most, of the other schools on this list, the University of Pennsylvania is rather difficult to get into. The school has an acceptance rate of just 9.3%, taking in about 3,760 applications out of about 40,410 total.

Students looking at the hefty $75k sticker price needn’t worry too much, though. The average institutional grant awarded at the university is $42,575—and nearly half of UPenn’s students receive that.

7. Columbia — $9,996,596,000

With its official mouthful of a name, Columbia University in the City of New York is much more commonly called Columbia. Many a famous face has walked through Columbia’s halls, including three presidents—Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and Obama!

Incoming students are impressive, to say the least. On average, students score between 32 and 35 on the ACT, or 1470 and 1580 on the SAT—near perfect! Additionally, those students tend to stay at Columbia for their sophomore year—97% stay, in fact.

8. The University of Notre Dame — $9,684,936,000

Home of the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame is a college with plenty of history. Though Notre Dame’s undergrad program offers 67 degrees, Finance, Mechanical Engineering, Accounting, Computer Science, and Neuroscience are the most popular.

Notre Dame celebrates a high 4-year graduation rate—91%—and a high first-year retention rate—98%. Speaking of percentages, 56% of Notre Dame students receive institutional grants, the average of which is worth $38,425.

9. Northwestern University — $7,947,574,000

Northwestern’s main campus is located right on the mighty Lake Michigan. Out of 37,260 annual applications, Northwestern will accept about 3,440, giving the school a 9% acceptance rate.

An interesting major holds the crown of Most Popular at Northwestern—Econometrics and Quantitative Economics. Their mascot is known as Willie the Wildcat and their school colors are purple and white.

10. Duke University — $7,911,175,000

Founded in 1838 as Brown’s Schoolhouse, Duke has undergone several name changes since, including Union Institute, Normal College, and Trinity College, before landing on Duke University.

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke has a near 60/40% split between graduate and undergraduate students on the campus. Students can earn up to the doctor’s degree level at Duke in a number of prestigious programs.

How the Largest Endowments Help

You may have noticed that each college on this list is a private school. Though private schools tend to have higher sticker prices, the endowments help the colleges make attendance more affordable for their students.

The endowment per student or EPS is an indicator of a college’s financial strength. Knowing the EPS of a college will give you a pretty good idea of the amount of financial aid that the college is likely to grant students. Generally, colleges with the largest endowments per student offer their students a more generous financial aid package.

Curious about another school’s endowment? Check out College Raptor’s rankings data! Also, you can discover your personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US with College Raptor’s free match tool!

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