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Fiscal year 2012 was a less-than-stellar year for college endowments.
The 831 institutions in a study by the National Association of College and University Business Officers saw an average decline of 0.3 percent in the year ending June 30, 2012. That's a sharp decline from the previous year's average gain of 19.2 percent.
Harvard University, the college with the largest endowment in the country, saw its numbers drop from $32 billion at the end of fiscal year 2011 to $30 billion at the end of fiscal year 2012, according to data reported to U.S. News in an annual survey. But compared to its peers, the prestigious college is still in good shape.
Of the 1,141 ranked National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Colleges and Regional Universities that reported endowment figures to U.S. News, the average endowment was roughly $329.9 million.
At the 10 schools with the highest endowments, the average endowment was about $13 billion. All but two schools on the list – University of Michigan—Ann Arbor and Texas A&M University—College Station – are private schools.
Schools use income from their endowments – along with tuition and other funding – to fund their day-to-day operations, so changes in the endowment's size can have a big effect on campus. That's especially true at public universities, many of which have faced stagnant or decreased state funding during the recession.
Below is a list of the 10 universities that had the most money in their endowments at the end of fiscal year 2012. For the purposes of this list, endowments were examined by campus, not across public university systems. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.
|School name (state)||End of fiscal year 2012 endowment||U.S. News rank and category|
|Harvard University (MA)||$30,745,534,000||2, National Universities|
|Yale University (CT)||$19,264,289,000||3, National Universities|
|Princeton University (NJ)||$17,404,002,000||1, National Universities|
|Stanford University (CA)||$17,035,804,000||5, National Universities|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||$10,149,564,000||7, National Universities|
|Columbia University (NY)||$7,654,152,000||4, National Universities|
|University of Michigan—Ann Arbor||$7,586,547,000||28, National Universities|
|Texas A&M University—College Station||$7,032,203,615||69, National Universities|
|University of Pennsylvania||$6,754,658,000||7, National Universities|
|University of Notre Dame (IN)||$6,444,599,000||18, National Universities|
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find data on college endowments, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.
U.S. News surveyed nearly 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2013 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's 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 will now produce 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 come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The endowment data above are correct as of Oct. 1, 2013.