Going to an Ivy League school seems to seriously pay off.
Six of the eight Ivies made the Wealth-X top 20 list of universities with ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) alumni, which ranks the schools with the wealthiest grads in the U.S. and abroad, as well as how their wealth was made. Each of the top 20 global universities on the 2019 University Ultra-High-Net-Worth Alumni Rankings had at least 2,000 UHNW alumni, and the top five had more than 3,000.
But Harvard is in an Ivy League of its own, with more than 13,650 estimated UHNW alumni worth $4.769 trillion — more than double the figure for Stanford (where Google
co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin met) and the University of Pennsylvania (alma mater of Berkshire Hathaway
owner Warren Buffett and Tesla
CEO Elon Musk), who were in second and third place on both the global and national lists.
Granted, it costs a fortune to get in the front door at many of these places in the first place. Less than 5% of students at Ivy League and elite colleges come from families whose income falls in the bottom 20%, while more than 14% of them come from the top 1%. Harvard students can pay more than $70,000 a year to attend the elite institution.
What’s more, Wealth-X reports that almost 80% of this group made their own fortunes, rather than inheriting it. In fact, most of the UHNW alumni (84%) were self-made. Only 7% solely inherited all of their wealth, and the greatest proportion of this trust-fund class (12%) graduated from Columbia University — although that percentage is still relatively low.
Just five public universities made the rich list, including the University of California at Berkeley (2,385 worth $760 billion), UCLA (1,945 worth $375 billion) and the University of Texas at Austin (2,195 alumni worth $463 billion).
The UHNW grads were predominantly male, but the schools with the highest proportion of female UHNW alumni included Columbia (12%), Northwestern (11%) and Boston University (10%). Their fortunes were mostly inherited or a combination of inheritance and self-made wealth. Indeed, just 244 of the 2,153 billionaires in the world are women, and women account for just 6.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs.
Only three of the top 20 schools were outside the U.S., including Oxford and Cambridge universities in the U.K., and INSEAD in France.