The 10 Wealthiest Private Universities In The United States

Yale University graduation ceremonies on Commencement Day on May 18, 2015. Editorial credit: f11photo /
Yale University graduation ceremonies on Commencement Day on May 18, 2015. Editorial credit: f11photo /

Most colleges and universities in the United States are private institutions that operate as research and educational NGOs. The tuition fees in these institutions tend to be quite high; therefore, only 20% of the country's college students manage to attend these private institutions. Most private universities offer financial-aid to students. Legally, these universities don't discriminate; however, they have a free-hand when it comes to setting admission policies. Other than being expensive world-class educational and research universities, some of the top private universities are quite wealthy.

Top 10 Wealthiest American Private Universities

Harvard University

Harvard is the oldest American higher learning institute that was established in 1636. Harvard is an Ivy-League educational and research institution that is situated in Cambridge with over 14,000postgraduate students and 6,800undergraduate students. Its academic reputation, wealth, influence, and history have made Harvard a prestigious university. Harvard has the world's biggest academic-library system, which has over 20.4 million items. While its tuition fee is quite high, the institution's huge endowment allows the university to offer no-loan financial-aid to its students. Harvard is the wealthiest private university in the United States whose wealth in 2014 was worth $42.8billion. Harvard's alumni include over 30foreign heads-of-state, 8american presidents, 252Marshall Scholars, 369Rhodes Scholars, and 188 living billionaires. Harvard had been affiliated with 48 Pulitzer Prize-Winners and 160 Nobel laureates as of October 2019.

Stanford University

Stanford is an Ivy-League private research higher learning institution that is situated in California. Stanford was established by Jane and Leland Stanford in 1885 in memory of their child, who had passed away in 1884. The university admitted its first students in 1891 as a non-denominational and coeducational university. Stanford is organized around 3traditional schools consisting of 4 professional schools and 40academic departments at the graduate and undergraduate level. Stanford rests on about 8,180acres and has over 7,000 buildings on its campus, including the art institute. Stanford is known for its wealth, selectivity, and achievements. Stanford's alumni include 17 astronauts, 30 living billionaires, and an American president. Stanford has been affiliated with 27 Turing Award laureates and 83 Nobel laureates.

Yale University

Yale University is the third-oldest American higher learning institution that was established before the American Revolution. It is an Ivy-League research institution that is situated in New Haven. The clergy established Yale in 1701 to educate Congregational ministers. The institute was renamed Yale College in 1718 after Yale Elihu, the president of the British East-India Company. Yale was relocated to New Haven in 1716. Initially restricted to sacred languages and theology, Yale started incorporating sciences and humanities into their curriculum by the time the American Revolution had begun. Yale University is home to the third biggest library in the United States. Yale's alumni include 31 living billionaires, 5 American presidents, and 19 Supreme Court Justices.   

Princeton University

Princeton University is the fourth wealthiest American Private University and also the fourth oldest higher learning institution in the country. Princeton was chartered in 1746, right before the American Revolution. The institution was moved from Newark to Princeton in 1756, and it was renamed in 1896. Princeton University provides graduate and undergraduate instructions in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Princeton offers financial-aid to about 60% of its students. The prestigious research institute has the highest endowment per student in the country. Princeton University's alumni include 12 Supreme Court Justices, 2 American Presidents, and numerous foreign heads-of-states and living billionaires.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The MIT is a space-grant, sea-grant, and land-grant private university with an urban campus that stretches for about a mile along River Charles. The institution also has several off-campus facilities, including Haystack Observatory, the Bates Center, and the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, among others. The MIT was established in 1861 in response to increased American industrialization. MIT played a crucial role in developing various aspects of technology, mathematics, modern science, and engineering.  MIT is known for its academic strength and innovations, making it a prestigious learning institution. MIT is consistently ranked as one of the best American engineering schools. As of 2019, MIT is affiliated with 26 Turing Award winners, 96 Nobel laureates, and 41 astronauts, among others.

University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)

UPenn is one of the colonial colleges that was established in 1740 prior to the Declaration of Independence. UPenn's founder Benjamin Franklin advocated for a program that trained students in public service, government, and commerce. UPenn accepts only 9% of the total applicants, and it offers over 100 undergraduate minors and majors. The University of Pennsylvania is recognized for its prestigious business programs via the Wharton School. Wharton School is one of the world's best business schools. As of 2018, the University of Pennsylvania's alumni included 64 billionaires, 44 governors, 33 American Senators, 12 signers of the American Constitutions, 8signers of the Declaration of Independence, and 3 Supreme Court justices among others.

Duke University

Duke University was founded in 1838 by the Quakers-and-Methodists in Trinity town. Duke was later moved from Trinity to Durham. The institution changed its name in honor of Duke Washington in 1924, after his son James Duke created the Duke-Endowment. The university spans over 8,600 acres on 3 sub-campuses in Durham. Duke administers 2concurrent institutions in Asia (Duke Kunshan University and Duke-NUS Medical-School). Duke University's alumni include 25 Churchill Scholars and 46 Rhodes Scholars. Duke produced the fifth-highest highest number of Udall, Goldwater, Truman, Marshal, and Rhodes Scholar of any U.S. higher learning institution from 1986 to 2015. 

Northwestern University (NU)

NU is one of the wealthiest private universities in the United States that is situated in Evanston, Illinois. NU also has other campuses in Doha, Qatar, and Chicago and other academic facilities and programs in San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Miami. NU is a vast research institution with a unique doctoral program that attracts about $800 million in sponsorship research annually. The undergraduate research office connects students with programs and projects that are related to their field-of-study. NU was established by John Evans, and 8 other lawyers, Methodist-leaders, and businessmen in 1851. NU's present and former alumni and faculty include 2 Supreme Court Justices, 16 Rhodes Scholars, 6 MacArthur Genius followers, 38 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 19 Nobel Prize laureates.

Columbia University

Columbia is a prestigious research institution that is based in the city of New York. Columbia is the fifth oldest higher learning institute in the country and the oldest in New York. Columbia was established on Trinity church's grounds in Manhattan. It is one of the 7colonial colleges that belong to the Ivy-League. Columbia has been ranked among the world's top-10 higher learning institutions by several educational publications. The institution was initially known as King's College, but it was moved to Morningside Heights and renamed in 1896. Columbia's affiliates and alumni as of 2018 included 29 Nobel laureates, 2 Supreme Courts justices, 53 living billionaires, 3 American presidents, 4 founding fathers, and 29 foreign heads-of-state.

University of Notre Dame (ND)

ND was established by Rev. Sorin Edwards in 1842. It is a private catholic research higher learning institute that is situated in Indiana. ND.s main campus was built on 1,261 acres of land, and it has numerous landmarks, including the Basilica, Notre-Dame Stadium, and the Golden Dome. ND has organized its undergraduates in 6 colleges, including the school of Architecture. ND has over 50 professional, doctoral, and master's degree programs. ND's over 134,000 alumni has one of the strongest alumni network in the country. ND is known by many people for its football team, which played a crucial role in helping the institution attain international fame.

The 10 Wealthiest Private Universities In The United States

RankUniversityWealth in financial year 2014 (in billion USD)
1Harvard University, MA$42.8bn
2Stanford University, CA$31.6bn
3Yale University, CT$25.4bn
4Princeton University, NJ$21.3bn
5Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA$15.2bn
6University of Pennsylvania, PA$11.9bn
7Duke University, NC$11.4bn
8Northwestern University, IL$10.4bn
9Columbia University, NY$9.9bn
10University of Notre Dame du Lac, IN$9.5bn

More in Economics