NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- As tuition costs continue to mount at universities across the nation, some colleges are sitting on mountains of cash. And while some of that cash goes to regular campus operations or scholarships for students with financial need, many schools don't really use it at all, investing the money to fund big future projects. And sometimes, when the economy tanks, the money simply gets lost in the market.
With a $32 billion endowment last year, Harvard is the richest institution of higher education in the U.S.
Private schools rely on alumni and corporate sponsors to raise funds for the school's endowment fund, and while some endowments face restrictions in how money gets spent (as in some donations can be spent only after a certain amount of time, or can be invested only so as to use the profits, not the capital), many leading universities have taken criticism for collecting the money and sitting on it while raising costs for students. The most recent comprehensive endowment study from the National Association of College and University Business Owners, which evaluated the endowment funds for 839 institutions in the U.S. as of last year, found 75 with more than $1 billion in the bank. Here are the 10 richest universities in the U.S.