Stacker released a list of the richest schools in America with Harvard coming out on top. This is not a shock, but it did shock me that its 2018 endowment of $38.3 billion made it wealthier than 109 countries in the world.

UT-Austin came in second. From Campus Reform:

University endowments operate in a fashion similar to tax-exempt hedge funds, reported Stacker. Private institutions often use nonprofit status to avoid tax, but a provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will levy a small tax on schools with funds totaling more than $500,000 per student. Harvard has 36,012 students, with an endowment per student average of more than $1 million.

Campus Reform reached out to Harvard for a breakdown of funding allocation and to see what the school thought of the college vs. countries statistic, but received no comment in time for publication.

With a 2018 endowment of $30.9 billion, the University of Texas system finished right beneath Harvard on Stacker’s list, as reported by KXAN.

UT Austin spokesman J.B. Bird told Campus Reform that diversity accounted for a “huge community” and that the funds “serve all people.” He highlighted that, among the individuals served by the funds are rural Texans.

Campus Reform also discussed the statistic with Karen Adler, the director of media relations for the UT system.

“The UT System endowment is made up of several different endowments and they all have different restrictions on how they can be spent,” Adler said. “The Texas Constitution stipulates how money from the Permanent University Fund – which constitutes a large portion of the UT System endowment – can be spent.”

Adler told Campus Reform that the UT system includes 240,000 students and 14 institutions.

“Philanthropic gifts make up another significant portion of the endowment. Donors specify how the money is to be spent (scholarships, professorships, research, etc.), and the university is responsible for honoring donor intent. In general, most gifts are restricted.”


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