The endowment of an academic institution is the total value of its investments.
As a general rule, private colleges and universities are repositories of a good deal of money (at least compared to you and me, unless you happen to be a major sultan). But these five schools tower above all the rest because they have money galore available for each and every student.
That's really good news from just about every perspective, including financial aid. If you can get in to any these schools (at least as an undergraduate), you will almost certainly be able to afford to go because financial aid money is insanely generous.
Princeton's total endowment isn't the highest; Harvard's is, by some 14 billion dollars. However, Princeton has only about one-third as many students as Harvard does. Consequently, Princeton boasts some $500,000 more in available funds per student.
Endowment: $14.05 billion
Total enrollment: 7,567
Endowment per student: $1,857,040
It's not much of a shocker that the top three schools on this list are in Ivy League. Yale's endowment is a somewhat larger than Princeton's but so is its enrollment. As a result, Yale clocks in at a very respectable second on this prestigious list.
Endowment: $16.65 billion
Total enrollment: 11,593
Endowment per student: $1,436,384
Harvard owns the most gargantuan endowment in the country. To put its total endowment of $27.56 billion in perspective, it will take Iceland over two years to produce enough goods and services to equal Harvard's total investments. However, Harvard's enrollment is also the largest on this list — by a long shot — so it's only third in per-student endowment.
Endowment: $27.56 billion
Total enrollment: 21,125
Endowment per student: $1,304,492
You were expecting Dartmouth? Stanford? MIT? No! Coming in fourth on this list is the tiny Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in a more remote suburb of Boston. Established in 1997, Olin is just a newborn as far as colleges go. This school came out of the womb loaded, and every student receives a half-tuition scholarship good for four years.
Endowment: $335.6 million
Total enrollment: 306
Endowment per student: $1,096,595
Pomona College is one of the five undergraduate schools (and two grad schools) that make up the Claremont Colleges. Each of the Claremont schools is small, prestigious, and distinct in character. They've all got a lot of money, too, but Pomona has the most per student.
Endowment: $1.46 billion
Total enrollment: 1,548
Endowment per student: $942,490
If you want more information on financial aid opportunities, check out: How to Get More Financial Aid for College