Monday, May 9, 2022

Per student value of law school endowments

A colleague elsewhere sent me data on law school endowments in 2019 (most probably went up in 2021, although they're probably back down now).   We divided the total endowment by the total JD and non-JD student enrollment based on the 2021 ABA disclosures to determine the per student value of the endowments.  Endowments, of course, are not the only source of income beyond tuition:  public law schools, for example, get substantial amounts of money from the state, while some law schools get substantial annual gifts (for more than a decade, for example, Chicago has benefitted from renewable three-year gifts supporting the Rubenstein Scholarships in an amount that would be equivalent, by my estimate, to another $125,000,000 in endowment!).  There is, of course, a striking if hardly perfect correlation between per student value of endowments and US rankings, in part because per capita expenditures account for all the differences between otherwise comparable schools.

Interestingly, several of the very wealthy law schools (e.g., Yale, Stanford, Harvard, and Notre Dame) actually have lower per student endowments than their parent universities as a whole; while others (like Virginia and Michigan) have far more.

In any case, here are the top 20 law schools by the per student value of their endowments (schools with an *asterisk outside the top 10 have a gross endowment greater than $100 million; all the schools in the top ten have gross endowments greater than $100 million).

1.  Yale University ($2,033,106)

2.  Stanford University ($1,422,512)

3.  Harvard University ($1,060,304)

4.  University of Notre Dame ($670,157)

5.  University of Chicago ($623,318)

5.  University of Virginia ($623,923)

7.  Columbia University ($496,710)

8.  University of Michigan ($480,237)

9.  University of Pennsylvania ($403,714)

10. Duke University ($352,594)

11.  *Brigham Young University ($348,600)

12.  *Vanderbilt University ($317,029)

13.  *Northwestern University ($305,673)

14.  *University of Richmond ($294,406)

15.  *University of Texas, Austin ($291,626)

16.  Pennsylvania State University-Dickinson School of Law ($283,208)

16.  *University of California, Berkeley ($281,781)

16.  *Washington & Lee University ($282,322).

16.  *Baylor University ($240,589)

20.  *Cornell University ($234,735)

Other schools we checked (these are not rank ordered, since we may have missed some--although Mercer and Minnesota are very likely 21 and 22):

Mercer University ($221,930)

*University of Minnesota ($216,480)

*Brooklyn Law School ($191,723)

*Southern Methodist University ($181,132)

University of Missouri, Columbia ($178,861)

University of Cincinnati ($178,783)

*New York University ($173,251)

*University of California, Los Angeles ($168,918)

*University of Georgia ($168,067)

*University of Southern California ($167,609)

*University of Washington ($160,887)

University of Colorado, Boulder ($158,713)

*Case Western Reserve University ($152,900)

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill ($147,414)

University of Iowa ($146,764)

Ohio State University ($144,252)

University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) ($139,940)

*University of Florida ($139,130)

University of Utah ($135,701)

Drake University ($130,041)

University of Kansas ($129,795)

University of Maryland ($97,150)

Indiana University, Bloomington ($93,984)

Boston University ($80,892)

Wayne State University ($79,108)

Lewis & Clark College ($78,610)

*Georgetown University ($71,533)

*Fordham University ($68,985)

*George Washington University ($65,435)

Emory University ($61,853)

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign ($60,759)

University of California, Hastings ($51,606)

University of California, Irvine ($44,910)

University of California, Davis ($18,636)

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