NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- College tuition costs may be climbing, but that doesn't mean colleges are hurting.

In fact, a number of universities are sitting on mountains of cash as measured by the size of their endowments. A college's or university's endowment represents cash or other financial assets donated to an institution. For our purposes, we define how "rich" a school is by the size of its endowment. The larger the endowment, the wealthier the school.

While some endowment funds go to everyday campus operations or scholarships for students with financial need, many schools simply invest the money to fund future projects. When the economy hits a rough patch, that money loses value.

A February 2014 study from the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute that evaluated the endowment funds for 849 institutions in the U.S. and Canada found 83 with endowments of more than $1 billion.

Here, then, are the 10 richest universities in North America ranked by the size of its endowment in 2013...

#10:  Northwestern University

Endowment funds in 2013: $7.88 billion

Students last fall: 21,596

Undergraduate tuition: $62,848 for tuition only for the 2014-15 academic year.

#9:  Columbia University

Endowment funds in 2013: $8.20 billion

Students last fall: 29,250

Undergraduate tuition: $66,604 for tuition, room and board for the 2014-15 academic year for New York residents.

#8:  University of Michigan

Endowment funds in 2013: $8.32 billion

Students last fall: 43,710 for the main Ann Arbor campus

Undergraduate tuition: $27,834 for tuition (average), room and board for on-campus residents for the 2014-15 school year.

#7:  Texas A&M (System)

Endowment funds in 2013: $8.73 billion

Students last fall: 56,255

Undergraduate tuition: $22,470 for residents, $40,040 for nonresidents, for the 2015-15 school year at Texas A&M University College Station (main campus)

#6:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Endowment funds in 2013: $11.01 billion

Students last fall: 11,301

Undergraduate tuition: $58,732 for tuition, approximate undergraduate room and board, estimations for books and personal expenses for the 2013-14 academic year

#5: Princeton University

Endowment funds in 2013: $18.2 billion

Students last fall: 8,014

Undergraduate tuition: $61,275 for the estimated cost of attendance in the coming 2015-16 academic year, including tuition, room, board, and estimated miscellaneous expenses.

#4:  Stanford University

Endowment funds in 2013: $18.69 billion

Students last fall: 18,136

Undergraduate tuition: $58,912 for tuition, room and board for the 2014-15 academic year

#3:  University of Texas

Endowment funds in 2013: $20.45 billion

Students last fall: 52,059 for the main Austin campus

Undergraduate tuition: $9,816 for residents, $34,860 for nonresidents, covering tuition only for the 2015-15 school year

#2:  Yale University

Endowment funds in 2013: $20.78 billion

Students last fall: 12,109

Undergraduate tuition: $59,800 for tuition, room and board for the 2014-15 academic year

#1:  Harvard University

Endowment funds in 2013: $32.33 billion

Students last fall: 21,000

Undergraduate tuition: $58,607 for tuition, room and board for the 2014-15 school year