HBCU Money’s 2018 Top 10 HBCU Endowments

The past 365 days for HBCU endowments has seen a lot of press, mainly led by Bennett College’s #StandWithBennett campaign as the school is embattled and was raising money to retain its accreditation and keep the doors open. A constant reminder of the fragility of HBCUs and their financial uncertainty. Economic conditions in the United States have made overall growth in higher education tempered and with it HBCU endowments have been a mixed bag. While the top ten HBCU endowments have five endowments that beat the median increase in endowment market value, only two endowments beat the national average. In comparison the top ten PWI endowments had eight endowments beat the national median average and seven of the ten exceeding the national average.

Over the past 12 months, the top ten HBCU endowments have increased their market value by $134.5 million or an increase of 7.4 percent over last year. There is plenty of argument that HBCUs should not be compared to the largest PWI endowments in behavior and instead to schools that are comparable in their size and scope. This is certainly a valid argument, but at a time when there are more PWIs with $1 billion plus endowments than there are HBCUs, it maybe hard to continue to lean on such an argument. The reason being is that higher education in general is experiencing and going to continue to consolidation and contraction with education alternatives entering the market. Smaller colleges and HBCUs are going to have to be over capitalized and nimble in order to shift to changing market demands and conditions. At the moment, over 90 percent of HBCUs do not have even $100 million endowments leaving them highly vulnerable as we have seen with the closure of a number of HBCUs in recent years and more than just Bennett in current crisis.

This year we included more than just the top ten, but all HBCUs who reported to NACUBO, which is the reporting endowment organization we use to keep our reporting date uniformed.

All values are in millions ($000)

1. Howard University – $688,562 (6.5%)

2. Spelman College – $389,207 (6.3%)

3.  Hampton University – $285,345 (2.2%)

4.  Meharry Medical College – $159,908 (4.1%)

5.  Morehouse College – $145,139 (2.6%)

6.  North Carolina A&T State University  – $63,827 (14.9%)

7.  University of the Virgin Islands – $61,491 (10.7%)

8.  Tennessee State University – $58,697 (5.1%)

9.  Texas Southern University – $58,158 (7.4%)

10.  Virginia State University – $54,479 (6.6%)


Take a look at how an endowment works. Not only scholarships to reduce the student debt burden but research, recruiting talented faculty & students, faculty salaries, and a host of other things can be paid for through a strong endowment. It ultimately is the lifeblood of a college or university to ensure its success generation after generation.

*Note: The change in market value does NOT represent the rate of return for the institution’s investments. Rather, the change in the market value of an endowment from FY2016 to FY2017 reflects the net impact of: 1) withdrawals to fund institutional operations and capital expenses; 2) the payment of endowment management and investment fees; 3) additions from donor gifts and other contributions; and 4) investment gains or losses.

16 responses to “HBCU Money’s 2018 Top 10 HBCU Endowments

  1. Inger Daniels

    Are values in millions, as stated? Howard’s endowment is $688,562 MILLION? Like approaching a trillion dollars?

    • Howard’s endowment is $688.5 million. It is approaching a billion.

    • I was also confounded by this. Also the note “all values are in millions” … followed by the placeholder for thousands (000). I expected FAMU to be at in the top 5 (or at the very least the top 10). oh well….

  2. Prairie View A&M is somehow always left out of the HBCU Conversation! Well then Endowment is approximately 82.3 Million so interject The University on the list rightfully so about 7th on the list and, familiarize yourself with the best HBCU in the best kept secret categories.

    • Prairie View A&M University’s endowment is part of the Texas A&M University System and therefore does not have its endowment separated by our reporting standards with NACUBO and therefore can not be listed.

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  4. This is an interesting and informative read!! Thank you!! I am helping my son figure out college right now and this speaks volumes and sheds light on so much.

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  8. Thank you for this vital information.

    While Clark Atlanta University figures are not reported, please note that with nearly 4,000 students, and an endowment (post COVID-19 of $85 Million, it is substantial.

    George T. French, Jr.

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