Endowments – An Overview
Print this article
Font Size
Top 10 University Endowments
View ArticleView Article Comments
Some of the largest endowments are set up for universities and colleges (like our hypothetical with Barry’s Endowment Fund). In fact, according to the 2008 study by the National Association of Collage and Business Officers (NACUBO), out of 791 American universities the average endowment was over ½ billion dollars. That’s quite large – but almost "chump change" compared to the largest university endowments.

According to NACUBO’s 2008 stats, the top 10 university endowments by funds include:
  1. Harvard University, MA - 36.5 billion
  2. Yale University, CT - 22.8 billion
  3. Stanford University, CA - 17.2 billion
  4. Princeton University, NJ - 16.3 billion
  5. University of Texas, TX - 16.1 billion
  6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MA - 10 billion
  7. University of Michigan, MI - 7.5 billion
  8. Northwestern University, IL - 7.2 billion
  9. Columbia University, NY - 7.1 billion
  10. Texas A&M University - 6.6 billion
With those 2008 stats, it should also be noted that many universities’ endowments have taken some hard hits from the recent financial crisis. According to the New York Times, Harvard’s endowment took a 22% hit from 2008 and lost over $8 billion (that right, billion) in just 4 months (so many of the above numbers have changed). In fact, for the very first time in Harvard’s history of about 375 years – which is older than the United States itself – it faces some difficult financial problems.

As you can see, endowments can be a great source of funds for universities and colleges, as long as they are making money (and not losing it). It’s likely that Harvard will take a much stronger look at its financial endowments, and learn to finance more operations through areas other than endowments.

Next, we’ll take a look at how to donate or set up your own endowment.