Though much is made of the sometimes staggering sums involved in college endowments, the size of the student body is also important because it gives you a better idea of the endowment's potential. And given the growing need for student financial aid, we thought it would be interesting to take a per-capita approach.
To get an idea, CNBC.com sifted through new data from the National Association of College and University Business Officers(NACUBO) and compared total endowment holdings to the total size of the student body, both undergraduate and graduate.
Although most schools at the top of this list are the similar to those with the largest overall endowments, a number of smaller and academically distinguished ones also made the grade.
So, which colleges and universities have the biggest endowments compared to enrolled students? Click ahead to find out!
By Paul Toscano
Posted 28 Feb 2011
Endowment per student: $749,309
Endowment: $1.26 billion
Total enrollment: 1,688
As recently as 2007, Grinnell College had the largest endowment among all US liberal a rts colleges with $1.72 billion. In 2010, the endowment was approximately $1.26 billion and with a student body of less than 1,700, Grinnell has the tenth largest endowment on a per-student basis.
Endowment per student: $794,579
Endowment: $1.39 billion
Total enrollment: 1,744
Highly ranked scholastically, Amherst College in Massachusetts is also a standout in per capital endowment. Although the school maintains rivalries with the likes of Williams College and Wesleyan University, the financial standing of Amherst pushes it past its historical rivals.
Endowment per student: $800,975
Endowment: $8.32 billion
Total enrollment: 10,384
MIT’s endowment of $8.32 billion is the sixth largest in the United States, but compared to the size of its student body, the school ranks eighth. MIT has over 6,000 postgraduates, accounting for nearly 60 percent of its total enrollment and pushing its per-student ranking down relative to its total endowment.
Endowment per student: $819,183
Endowment: $1.25 billion
Total enrollment: 1,525
Located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and with just over 1,500 students in attendance, the school’s endowment stands at $819,183 per student. Swarthmore ranks 50th overall in total endowment size after increasing in value by over $120 million - approximately 10.7 percent - from 2009.
Endowment per student: $904,179
Endowment: $13.85 billion
Total enrollment: 15,319
Stanford also finds itself among the biggest endowments, with $13.85 billion . With 15,319 graduate and undergraduate students, the univeristy has $904,179 invested in its endowment, per student.
Endowment per student: $942,490
Endowment: $1.46 billion
Total enrollment: 1,548
Located in Claremont, California, Pomona College is routinely ranked as one of the top ten liberal arts colleges in the country. Pomona saw an 8. 5 percent increase in the value of its endowment from 2009, and although it ranks 40th among college endowments, its small student body shoots it into the top five on this list.
Endowment per student: $1,096,595
Endowment: $335.6 million
Total enrollment: 306
A major outlier due to it’s extremely small college size of 306 students, the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts has over $1 million in endowment investments per student. The endowment is funded primarily by the F. W. Olin Foundation and the large endowment allows the school to offer a half-scholarship to every admitted student, worth nearly $80,000 over four years. Prior to the recession it offered a full tuition scholarship but had to reduce this award for new students, because of the economy.
Endowment per student: $1,304,492
Endowment: $27.56 billion
Total enrollment: 21,125
Harvard, with the largest endowment in the country, has only the third highest total when compared to the size of its student body. Harvard’s endowment is so large that from 2009 to 2010, the fund grew over $1.41 billion, a sum alone that would be the 42nd largest endowment in the country.
Endowment per student: $1,436,384
Endowment: $16.65 billion
Total enrollment: 11,593
With a total student population of 11,593, Yale’s endowment of $16.65 billion is at a level of approximately $1.4 million per student. Yale reports that spending from its endowment totals $986 million for the academic year 2010-11, which covered approximately 38 percent of the school’s net revenues.
Endowment per student: $1,857,040
Endowment: $14.05 billion
Total enrollment: 7,567
Although Princeton holds the number - three spot for the total size of endowment, on a per-student basis, no other college or university has more funds per student, according to data from NACUBO. As in most colleges, Princeton’s endowment was hurt by the recession, but its annual rate of return over the past decade still stands at 7.9 percent according to the university. From 2009 to 2010, however, its value rose by over $1.7 billion, an increase of 14.1 percent.