The top 20 university endowments of 2023

Only three institutions in the top 20 broke the 2023 average gain of 7.7%: the University of California System, John Hopkins University and Duke University. 

Enrollment wasn’t the only significant metric to bounce back in higher education in 2023. After an 8% percent drop off in fiscal year 2022, endowment has surged back, nearly recouping its loss with a 7.7% gain, according to the latest report by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund (NACUBO-Commonfund).

Among the 20 wealthiest universities, the median endowment was a crisp $17.1 billion, increasing by an average of 1.9%. Only three institutions in the top 20 broke the 2023 average gain of 7.7%: the University of California System, John Hopkins University and Duke University. John Hopkins had by far the highest jump at about 28%, and the UC system came behind with an almost 15% uptick. However, seven universities experienced a decrease in endowment, the worst being Washington University at -6.4%. Other institutions that sustained losses included Yale, Princeton and MIT.

“From the point of view of college and university chief business officers, the results of this year’s endowment study are ideal—a sound rate of return demonstrating good fiscal stewardship leading to additional resources available to the students, faculty, and programs that are our core mission,” said NACUBO President and CEO Kara D. Freeman in a statement. “Endowments are complex, and managing them in the current financial environment can be difficult, but we see from this fiscal year 2023 data that our students, donors, and institutions are being well served.”

In the 50 years NACUBO has been tracking colleges and universities’ endowments, it’s grown its analysis to reach 688 institutions, 15 of them being  Canadian. Compared to the multi-billion dollars of the top 20, the mean of all nearly 700 institutions was $209 million, and roughly one-third was under $100 million.

Here are the top 20, in thousands of dollars. Access the full Excel sheet here.

Rank Institution name FY23 endowment market value Change %
1 Harvard University $49,495,108 0.1
2 University of Texas System $44,967,186 5.4
3 Yale University $40,746,900 -1.5
4 Stanford University $36,495,000 0.4
5 The Trustees of Princeton University $34,058,774 -4.8
6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology $23,453,446 -5.2
7 Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania $20,962,965 1.2
8 The Texas A&M University System & Related Foundations $19,285,472 5.7
9 University of Michigan $17,875,691 3.0
10 The Regents of the University of California $17,689,324 14.7
11 University of Notre Dame $16,616,524 -0.7
12 Northwestern University $13,699,895 -3.0
13 Trustees of Columbia University $13,642,667 2.7
14 Duke University $13,237,963 9.3
15 Washington University $11,467,279 -6.4
16 The Johns Hopkins University $10,538,865 27.8
17 Emory University $10,239,776 2.4
18 Cornell University $10,035,558 2.0
19 The University of Chicago $9,869,725 -0.5
20 University of Virginia $9,799,870 -0.6


Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and first-generation journalism graduate from the University of Florida. His beats have ranged from Gainesville's city development, music scene and regional little league sports divisions. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador and Brazil.

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