REVEALED: Cambridge’s most well-endowed college

Trinity tops the list of colleges with the highest endowments.

assets capita colleges endowment johns net per tit all Trinity trust

2014-15 College reports reveal that the disparity between college endowments has continued to grow. 

There is a significant amount of variation in the amount spent by each college, the biggest determinant of unequal student experiences.

Net Expenditure

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Trinity has nearly double the assets of the second wealthiest college, St John’s. The difference between Trinity, the wealthiest, and St. Edmund’s, the least wealthy, has grown by £62 million in the last year.

Net Assets

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Assets per student also show a stark disparity, with Trinity having about ten times the assets per student of other colleges.

Assets per Capita

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However, contributions to the Colleges Fund equalises funding available for students. Colleges with larger endowments make correspondingly large contributions to the Colleges fund. Grants are made from the fund to support individual or recurrent projects at colleges.

Some colleges have criticised the Fund. Paul ffolkes Davis, Trinity Hall’s bursar argued that the Colleges Fund “needs review”.  “The system is creaking, and the time when the Colleges’ Fund which supports the younger, poorer colleges will need to be overhauled is fast approaching,”  he said in the report.

Contributions to the Colleges Fund

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The Isaac Newton Trust is another program which equalises funding across the university. This scheme allows less well-endowed colleges to hire young teachers and researches through fellowship schemes.

Trinity, which founded the Trust, contributed £1.5 million last year and claims that 20 per cent of its budget provides for student support and teaching across the university. Their website says “[Trinity] College’s relatively healthy financial position must therefore be seen in the perspective of the College’s many responsibilities”.

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Cambridge is still the wealthiest university in Britain and has a larger endowment than Oxford. However, Harvard’s £26.5 billion endowment leaves both in the shade.