The richest public universities in the country boast endowments above 10 figures, placing them in the upper echelon of higher education. Texas A&M University at College Station, for example, has an endowment of $10.52 billion, not only making it the wealthiest public university in America, but also the sixth wealthiest among all universities, right behind MIT and Princeton.
Whether public or private, university endowments support a school’s operating budget and help it invest in its future, from providing scholarships and financial aid to funding research and other initiatives. The richest colleges, frequently the most prestigious, can offer more of these opportunities to their students and community, giving them a leg up in recruitment and helping them burnish their academic reputation.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), an organization under the US government that collects and analyzes education data, provided Business Insider with the most recent figures on US college endowments (the fiscal year ending in October 2014). It also provided its most recent data on the annual cost for a student to attend each college while living on campus.
The following 12 colleges each have endowments of more than $2.4 billion, making them the richest public universities in America.
Additional reporting by Alex Morrell.
12. Purdue University
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Endowment: $2.45 billion
Tuition: $23,002 (in-state); $41,804 (out-of-state)
Purdue University is home to the country’s best undergraduate biological and agricultural engineering program. Discovery Park – the school’s 40-acre collaborative research hub with more than $1 billion in research investments – is a leader in several areas from cancer treatment and drug discovery to environmental and STEM learning.
11. Michigan State University
Location: East Lansing, Michigan
Endowment: $2.55 billion
Tuition: $25,350 (in-state); $47,115 (out-of-state)
MSU was founded as a land-grant university and the first US institute of higher education to teach scientific agriculture. The school now offers 15 majors focused on environmentalism and reports that it’s one of the top-five campuses for sustainability.
10. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Endowment: $2.66 billion
Tuition: $25,650 (in-state); $50,732 (out-of-state)
In the late 18th century, UNC Chapel Hill became the first public university in America to award degrees. Today, it’s revered as one of the best public colleges in the nation for its accomplishments in research, innovation, and healthcare. The school – which is part of the 16-school UNC system – also boasts a top-rated undergraduate business program with specialties in marketing, management, and finance.
9. University of Washington
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Location: Seattle, Washington
Endowment: $2.92 billion
Tuition: $26,698 (in-state); $47,817 (out-of-state)
Founded in 1861, UW is made up of three campuses: Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell – Seattle is the university’s main campus and boasts the largest endowment. UW’s alumni include 136 Fulbright Scholars, 35 Rhodes Scholars, seven Marshall Scholars, and four Gates Cambridge Scholars. Preserving the environment is a priority for the school – it launched the UW Sustainability program in 2008 to promote projects that promoteresource conservation and behavior change.
8. University of Minnesota at Twin Cities
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Endowment: $2.99 billion
Tuition: $25,674 (in-state); $32,924 (out-of-state)
The more than 30,000 students who attend the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities learn from accomplished professors who have won Nobel Prizes, Pulitzer Prizes, and MacArthur Fellowships, among other awards. UMN graduates go on to impressive feats as well: Alumni havestarted over 10,000 companies, generating a combined $100 billion in revenue.
7. University of Wisconsin at Madison
- Flickr/Richard Hurd
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Endowment: $3.13 billion
Total cost: $24,394 (in-state); $40,644 (out-of-state)
Home to one of the best business schools and graduate schools for education in the world, UW-Madison offers over 4,700 courses and 230 majors and certificates. The school also has19 Nobel Prize-winning faculty and alumni,and its Badger Volunteers program logged over37,000 hours of community servicein the 2014-2015 academic year. In 2015, the school secured $1.6 million to increase diversity in STEM-related fields.
6. The University of Texas at Austin
Location: Austin, Texas
Endowment: $3.38 billion
Total cost: $26,346 (in-state); $51,352 (out-of-state)
The University of Texas has nearly half a million alumni all touting Longhorn pride,including Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, filmmaker Wes Anderson, late-journalist Walter Cronkite, and many members of the Bush family.
A leading research institution, UT took onmore than 5,000 externally sponsored research projectsduring the 2014-15 school year, earning the school $587 million to complete them.
5. University of Pittsburgh
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Endowment: $3.47 billion
Total cost: $32,964 (in-state); $43,360 (out-of-state)
University of Pittsburgh alumni include seven Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, andmore than 84 Fulbright Scholars. Undergraduates can choose between nearly 100 majors, including everything from neuroscience to anthropology to a self-designed program that allow students to combine courses across departments and schools.
4. Ohio State University
- Facebook/Ohio State University
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Endowment: $3.6 billion
Total cost: $25,785 (in-state); $42,285 (out-of-state)
With15 colleges and 200 majors, OSU has a lot to offer its more than 44,700 undergraduates. OSU’s biological and agricultural engineering program is recognized by U.S. News as one of the best in the nation. There’s also more than 115 master’s programs available at the graduate level. The school, which is one of the largest college campuses in the US, has longstanding roots in research, particularly in cancer, infectious disease, and advanced materials.
3. University of Virginia
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Endowment: $5.88 billion
Total cost: $27,010 (in-state); $56,196 (out-of-state)
Research initiatives are at UVA’s core, which boasts more than100 research centers on campus, as well as $311 million in annual research awards. U.S. News ranks UVA the No. 3 public university in the country, along withtop marks for its undergraduate and graduate business programs.
2. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Endowment: $9.6 billion
Total cost: $26,984 (in-state); $55,404 (out-of-state)
Michigan studentsreceived more Fulbright grantsthan anywhere else in the country but Harvard in 2015. As one of the founding members of theAssociation of American Universities, University of Michigan has made significant contributions to research and discovery in the last 116 years, with422 new inventions and $1.3 billion spent on researchin the last year alone.
1. Texas A&M University at College Station
- Facebok/Texas A&M University
Location: College Station, Texas
Endowment: $10.52 billion
Total cost: $22,975 (in-state); $39,837 (out-of-state)
Founded in 1876, Texas A&M was the first public school for higher education in the state. A university that prides itself on being focused on research, it was also one of the first institutions to be given atriple grant designation–land, sea, andspacegrants are given to colleges where studies focus on agriculture, water conservation, and space travel. It’s also one of the country’slargest universities, with over64,000 studentsenrolled in during the fall of 2015.