For all you parents out there: want your kids to get filthy rich?
One path to great wealth is going to a first-class university. That’s what a study from global research firm Altrata shows.
Here is its ranking of the top 10 U.S. universities in terms of the number of graduates enjoying a net worth of at least $30 million. Altrata calls that “ultra-wealthy” (seems like a fair definition, right?).
1. Harvard University: 17,660, or 5%, out of a total global ultra-wealthy population of 352,230.
2. Stanford University: 7,972
3. University of Pennsylvania: 7,517
4. Columbia University: 5,528
5. New York University: 5,214
6. Northwestern University: 4,354
7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 4,089
8. Yale University: 3,654
9. University of Southern California: 3,594
10. University of Chicago: 3,588
Why is Harvard so far ahead of the others? It could partly be the broad base of its academic excellence. While Stanford is particularly known for its technology programs and Penn for its finance programs, Harvard stands near the top in everything.
Also the technology industry’s most explosive growth came after 1980, giving Harvard a head-start on Stanford.
Rounding out the top 20 are:
11. University of Texas: 3,407
12. Princeton University: 3,173
13. Cornell University: 2,911
14. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA): 2,906
15. University of Michigan: 2,881
16. University of Notre Dame: 2,804
17. University of Virginia: 2,568
18. Georgetown University: 2,505
19. Boston University: 2,310
20. Miami University of Ohio: 2,285
Four foreign universities make the top 20 ranking, with
· University of Cambridge (U.K.) placing seventh behind Northwestern with 4,149,
· National University of Singapore placing 10th behind Yale with 3,653,
· University of Oxford (U.K.) placing 14th behind Texas with 3,356, and
· INSEAD (France) finishing 20th behind Notre Dame.
So Virginia, Georgetown, Boston University and Miami University would be wiped off the global top 20 roster.
It obviously doesn’t hurt to go to an Ivy League university if you want to bathe in wealth. Harvard, Penn, Columbia Yale, Princeton and Cornell are in the Ivy League, of course.
The only Ivy schools missing from the list are Dartmouth College and Brown University, which have smaller enrollments than some of the schools on the roster.
Schools of the Wealthiest
In the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans as of last year, here are the universities attended by the top eight.
1. Jeff Bezos, founded Amazon (net worth: $147 billion as of Sept. 16, 2022). School: Princeton University.
2. Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla ($272 billion). School: University of Pennsylvania.
3. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founded Facebook ($53 billion). School: dropped out of Harvard University.
4. Bill Gates, co-founded Microsoft ($104 billion). School: also dropped out of Harvard.
5. Larry Page, co-founded Google ($89 billion). Schools: University of Michigan (undergraduate), Stanford University (graduate school).
6. Sergey Brin, co-founded Google ($85 billion). Schools: University of Maryland (undergraduate), Stanford (graduate school).
7. Larry Ellison, co-founded Oracle ($96 billion). Schools: University of Illinois and University of Chicago (undergraduate—dropped out).
8. Warren Buffett, chief executive Berkshire Hathaway ($96 billion). Schools: University of Pennsylvania and University of Nebraska (undergraduate), Columbia University (graduate school).
So, two of the top five wealthiest Americans -- Gates and Zukerberg -- dropped out of Harvard and to this point remain the two wealthiest individuals who ever went there. And as an added bonus, they didn't have to deal with as much student loan debt.