The vast disparity in wealth in the United States applies to more than individuals and their private fortunes.
It’s also true of American higher education. It turns out that one-third of all the money in American higher education is controlled by just 10 colleges. That’s it. According to this CNN piece:
The wealth gap between the nation’s 40 richest colleges and universities and the rest is getting wider.
That’s thanks to strong investment returns and a tremendous fundraising advantage, according to credit rating agency Moodys.
And we’re talking about a really strong fundraising advantage, here.
The richest schools had average investment returns of 50% between 2009 and 2014. The top 40 also collected 59% of all donations made to the 500 schools during fiscal year 2014.
The result: About one third of the assets held by all colleges belong to the top 10 schools, and nearly two-thirds of the assets are held by the top 40 schools.
The top ten schools, in terms of assets:
- Harvard University — $42.8 billion
- University of Texas system — $36.7 B
- Stanford University — $31.6B
- University of California system — $28.6
- Yale University — $25.4B
- Princeton University — $21.3B
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology — $15.2B
- University of Pennsylvania — $11.9B
- University of Michigan — $11.5B
- Duke University — $11.4B
It’s worth pointing out that there’s significant disparity even within this list. The University of Texas might count as one institution in terms of assets, but it’s really a gigantic network of different colleges, and enrolls 140,000 undergraduates. Harvard University, which is $6 billion richer, has only 6,700 undergraduate students.