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The 15 Richest Colleges in America

University of Chicago

The University of Chicago has an endowment fund of $7.9 billion. Of that, it spends roughly $433 million on research. Back in 1890, the university was founded by John D. Rockefeller, and it now ranks as one of the best universities in the world – eighth-best to be precise.

It has strong programs in law, business, and medicine. The sizeable donations to the University of Chicago have been pumped back into the school in the form of an expanded School of Medicine, the Harris School of Public Policy studies, and a new arts center.

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Duke University

Duke University is located in North Carolina and is the 24th-best university in the world. Duke’s biggest benefactors are the Duke family. Washington Duke helped co-found the university, including a $300,000 donation with the stipulation that women would be admitted.

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Duke University has programs that are sought after in the Fuqua School of Business, Pratt School of Engineering, and Sanford School of Public Policy. The current endowment at Duke is $8.5 billion, and it spends roughly $1.1 billion on annual research.

University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame, located in Indiana, has more than sports. It has a huge endowment fund of $10.7 billion. It spends roughly $212 million of that on research each year. Notre Dame is ranked 18th in the nation, according to U.S. News.

It has programs that very esteemed, especially in business, law, and architecture. One interesting fact about Notre Dame is that at least half of its students go abroad for at least one semester to study, making it one of the top 10 schools whose students study overseas, according to Work + Money.

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Columbia University

Columbia University, located in New York, was founded in 1754 as King’s College. At first, it was funded by state lottery funds, but it was able to support itself before long. The university has an endowment fund of $10.86 billion, of which it spends $893 million on research.

Colombia is mainly known for its programs in teaching, business, medical, journalism, and law. Since the early 1900s, 84 Colombia staff or alumni have been awarded a Nobel Prize, so it’s easy to say Colombia University is doing good work.

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University of California

The University of California has a huge system. There are 10 official campuses, five of which are ranked among the best universities in the nation. It’s no wonder that this school has become one of the top choices in America.

The University is known for getting some huge donations, including $500 million from BP oil. If you add everything together, the University of California has an endowment fund just above $11 billion. This university also spends a ton on research – roughly $4.4 billion annually. 

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Northwestern University

Northwestern University opened in 1850, but it didn’t open to the public until five years later. After a ton of donations, this university has built up an endowment fund of $11.08 billion. The amount they spend on research each year reaches around $751 million.

Northwestern University’s specialty is business, education, and law. In fact, all of those programs are ranked top ten in the country, according to U.S. News. Currently, Northwestern University has three campuses, two in Illinois and one in Doha, Qatar. 

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Texas A&M University

Texas A&M is giant. It’s become one of the biggest tertiary systems in the United States. The whole thing consists of 11 campuses throughout Texas, although A&M College Station is the star. It currently has an endowment fund of $13.5 billion.

Much of that money is thanks to an extremely successful year in fundraising. In 2013, it raised over $740 million, which made A&M the nation’s top fundraising institution. A good portion of that money goes to research. The university spends around $905.5 million on research annually just at College Station. A&M has tons of great programs, including projects funded by NASA.

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Princeton University

Princeton University in New Jersey is one of the top universities in the nation, as well as the 10th-best university in the world. Naturally, it has an endowment fund to match it, nearly $26 billion. It’s one of the wealthiest schools in the nation, and it spends a lot of that back into the school.

It has a world-renowned art museum, with pieces from van Gogh, Monet, and Andy Warhol. Princeton also has produced 17 Nobel Prize winners, two presidents, and three current Supreme Court judges. However, of its large endowment, Princeton only spends $326 million on research.

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University of Michigan

The University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor, is the ninth-best university in the world. Even though it’s well-known for sports, this school has a lot more to offer. The National Science Foundation (NSF) rated the University of Michigan as the top public research universities in the country.

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That isn’t too much of a surprise since the University of Michigan spends roughly $1.5 billion in research per year. The current endowment fund for this university is $11.9 billion.

University of Texas

The University of Texas system has plenty of campuses – nine campuses – but Austin reigns supreme. The University of Texas has an endowment fund of $30.8 billion, of which it spends $652 million in research expenditures in Austin alone.

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A large chunk of the money is spent on research with a medical focus. The University of Texas ranks third for patent applications in the nation and is a world-leader in cancer research. On top of that, there are three National Cancer Institute Cancer Centers located on its campuses. In 2016 alone, the University of Texas built two new medical schools.

Stanford University

Stanford is the sixth-best university in the world. It’s particularly known for its schools of law, education, engineering, medicine, and business. Over the years, it’s received huge donations, which has helped it build a $26.5 billion endowment. Of that money, it spends roughly $1.1 million on research.

Stanford is historic and even helped give rise to Silicon Valley due to the Stanford Research Park for Technology, which was started by staff and students. The university is a world leader in AI, robotics, and energy technology.

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Yale University

Yale University is one of the most sought-after schools to attend in the world, so it’s no surprise that it’s the fifth-best university in the world. Yale is highly selective of its students, especially those applying for the schools of law, medicine, management, and drama. Due to its reputation, it has a huge endowment fund of $29.35 billion and spends roughly $951 million on research expenditures.

Yale also has a large number of overseas students who come to the states to learn. In fact, one of its most substantial donations came from Zhang Lei, a Chinese MBA graduate, who donated nearly $9 million. However, one of the largest contributions to-date comes from Charles B Johnson, who gifted Yale $250 million.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Of course, MIT had to be on this list. Located in Massachusetts, this famous university was founded in 1865 by a mysterious donor known as “Mr. Smith.” Now, we know that man to be George Eastman, founder of Kodak. This university is a world leader in science, technology, and engineering. It’s also the third-best school in the nation

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has an endowment fund of $16.5 billion, and it spends roughly $952 million on research. Currently, MIT has had 59 National Medal of Science winners, 90 Nobel Laureates, and 75 MacArthur follows among alumni and staff.

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University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania has a great history. It was co-founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1751 and is ranked the 15th-best university on the planet. While there are tons of great programs, this university is particularly known for the Wharton School of Business and its School of Medicine.

Overall, the University of Pennsylvania has an endowment fund of $13.78 billion, of which it spends around $1.4 million on annual research. According to The Best Schools, this ranks it as the fourth-largest university in research expenditures. 

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Harvard University

Was this one a surprise? Harvard is the wealthiest school in America. This Massachusetts university has an endowment fund of $38.3 billion, largely thanks to beneficiaries like Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates, David Rockefeller, and the NFL Players Association. Of those billions, Harvard spends roughly $1.123 million on research.

Harvard is the number one university in the world, and eighth largest for research expenditures. While Harvard has a strong emphasis on medicine (with one of the best medical schools in the world), it also has several other excellent programs. The only problem is that Harvard is very choosey with its students.

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