Top 5 Endowments among Colleges and Universities

What is an Endowment?

An endowment is defined as a transfer of money or other assets donated to an institution. Endowments are generally associated with cultural, academic or religious establishments. Some organizations that receive endowments include colleges, universities, private schools, museums, libraries, theaters, hospitals and churches. Endowments can come with stipulations attached to them regarding the way that they are used. For example, someone may donate ten million dollars to a college with the stipulation that it is used to create a new laboratory complex for students. Endowments can also be completely unrestricted and given simply as donations to various institutions.

The List

Here are the colleges or universities with the top five highest endowments according to the school's financial reports:
5. University of Texas System - This is the only public educational institution on the list of top endowments and it has an endowment of $13.24 billion dollars. The University of Texas System contains fifteen educational institutions in Texas, of which nine are academic universities and six are health centers. The academic institutions include the The University of Texas at Arlington (founded 1895), the University of Texas at Austin (flagship, founded 1883), the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (founded 1973 and 1926, respectively; combined since 1991), the University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson; founded 1969), the University of Texas at El Paso (founded 1914), the University of Texas at San Antonio (founded 1969), the University of Texas at Tyler (founded 1971), the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (Odessa; founded 1973) and the University of Texas–Pan American (Edinburg; founded 1927). The health institutions encompass the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, the University of Texas Medical Branch and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
4. Princeton University has an endowment of $14.4 billion dollars. It was founded in 1746 in Elizabeth, New Jersey and relocated to Princeton in 1756. Princeton has the largest endowment per student in the world. It does not have schools of medicine, law or business, but offers professional degrees through the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the School of Architecture.
3. Stanford University has an endowment of $16.5 billion dollars. Stanford jumps two spots up the rankings over last year as it earned a 21 percent return in the 2010-2011 fiscal year on its previous endowment. The university is located in Stanford, California. It was founded in 1891 by Leland Stanford, a California railroad tycoon, in honor of his son who died of typhoid as a teenager. The university is organized into seven schools of humanities and sciences, earth sciences, business, education, engineering, law and medicine.
2. Yale University has an endowment of $19.4 billion dollars. It is the third oldest institution of higher education in the United States, founded in 1701 at New Haven, Connecticut. Yale Law School is consistently ranked as the best law school in the country and the university is one of the best in the world.
1. Harvard University has an endowment of $32 billion dollars; nearly double that of the second highest endowment. The university is the oldest in the United States, founded in 1636 at Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the entire world.

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