By Brian Burnsed

Harvard University has about $10 billion more in its endowment than any other private college in the country, according to data reported by schools to U.S. News.

In 2010, the prestigious university reported that its endowment in fiscal year 2009 was $26,035,389,000. The next-highest endowed school in the country, Yale University , reported its 2009 amount to be $16,103,497,000.

Most schools fall even shorter of Harvard's endowment mark, as it's about 87 times higher than the national average. Among the 754 private colleges that reported endowment figures to U.S. News, the average endowment in 2009 was $296,479,664.

(But while Harvard's endowment outpaces its peers' by a wide margin, its fund was not spared by the recession. In June 2008, the school's endowment neared $37 billion, for a year-over-year dip of about 30 percent.)

The 10 schools with the largest endowments are categorized as National Universities, and all fall in the top 20 of the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings. In the top 10 alone, the range of endowment size extends from Harvard's $26 billion to the University of Chicago 's $4.5 billion.

Private colleges, which comprise this top 10 list, tend to have higher endowments than public universities, and funds are often bolstered by alumni donations. Schools typically spend about 5 percent of the total value of their endowment (based on a three-year average) each year, according to Endowment Spending: Goals, Rates, and Rules, an article that examines approaches to and models for long-term endowments. For students, these additional resources over tuition may mean they'll have access to newer facilities, increased research opportunities alongside distinguished professors, or a better chance to secure a scholarship, since endowments are typically a collection of funds that support a variety of school initiatives.

The absolute size of a school's endowment is not a data point in the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings. However, a school's endowment does directly impact the financial resources per student measure, which accounts for 10 percent of a school's overall ranking.

Below is the list of the 10 schools with the largest financial endowments in 2009, according to data reported by the schools to U.S. News:


University Endowment
Source: U.S. News & World Report
Harvard University (MA)$26,035,389,000
Yale University (CT)$16,103,497,000
Princeton University (NJ)$13,386,280,000
Stanford University (CA)$12,619,094,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology$7,982,021,000
Columbia University (NY)$5,892,798,000
University of Pennsylvania$5,170,539,000
University of Notre Dame (IN)$4,920,742,000
Emory University (GA)$4,601,487,813
University of Chicago (IL)$4,535,633,523

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