In the course of choosing which college to attend, it is significant that students look closely at the diverse selection of both public and private colleges throughout the country. Various factors may be considered, whether it be a college's location, popularity, prominence or the kind of courses it offers. Financial considerations also play a big part in selecting a college. Attending either a public or private college will entail costs, usually higher than what most students can afford firsthand.
In this respect, looking into how colleges are operated from a financial standpoint and knowing which institutions are provided the most funding may help identify which college may be able to grant the most financial assistance or offer partial to full scholarships to those that will qualify. Larger amounts of funding usually translate to better facilities, building maintenance, research grants, personnel, and faculty - all intended as investments in achieving better quality education.
Funding for colleges come in the form of endowments such as financial grants, donations, tuition fees, and government subsidies. Both public and private colleges receive endowments. The following is a list of the top ten private colleges according to endowment market value and assets as reported by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (2009):
1. Harvard University - established in 1636 and situated in Cambridge, Harvard has the highest recorded amount of endowments, set at USD 36.5 billion. Its schools in business, law, medicine, education, and engineering are among the most highly regarded in the academe. To date, Harvard's student body has grown to 20,000 while over 2,000 comprise its faculty.
2. Yale University - with endowments of USD 22.9 billion, Yale is located in New Haven, Connecticut and is home to professional schools in public health, environmental studies, management, music, architecture, drama, management, law, and medicine. Its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers courses in arts, philosophy, engineering, and science.
3. Stanford University - founded in 1891, the student body at Stanford in California has grown to over 14,000 in 2008. Endowments of up to USD 17.2 billion provide for its graduate school of business, schools of education, engineering, earth sciences, humanities, law, and medicine. Continuing studies also form an integral part of Stanford's set of academic programs and caters to about 9,000 students to date.
4. Princeton University - claiming university status in 1896, Princeton dubs itself as a research university, with endowments pegged at USD 16.3 billion. Located in Princeton, New Jersey, the Princeton School of Engineering and Applied Science offers both undergraduate and graduate studies in the fields of chemical, mechanical and aerospace, civil and environmental, and financial engineering. Interdisciplinary programs also offer degrees in many fields including anthropology, comparative literature, philosophy, languages, and finance.
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology - perhaps the most prominent technical college in the US, the MIT in Cambridge is associated with earning degrees in science and engineering, although the list of programs also include pursuits in anthropology, literature, media arts, history, linguistics, as well as music and theater arts. MIT endowments have reached USD 10 billion.