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The battle for the ‘richest school’ title

The University of Texas has a secret weapon that could help its endowment pass Harvard’s.

Singdhi Sokpo

In the world of academic endowments, Harvard is king. The university’s funds added a staggering $11.3B to its coffers between 2020 and 2021.

But the University of Texas is catching up, and analysts believe it might steal Harvard’s title when 2022 numbers are reported.

The University of Texas…

… has a secret weapon: land — specifically 2.1m acres in the Permian Basin. The university makes ~$6m a day leasing that land to oil drillers, per Bloomberg.

  • This cashflow could help Texas’ endowment stay in the black while Harvard and others fall victim to the bear market.

Understandably, UT has faced criticism for its oil investments. Notably, the university also uses its west Texas land for wind and solar generation.

Harvard…

… is no stranger to criticism for its own investments. An op-ed in The Harvard Crimson accused the school of benefiting off the prison-industrial complex and unsustainable energy.

In 2021, Harvard said it would stop investing in fossil fuels. Soon, that decision could make it the second richest school.

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