If you or your kids are headed off to college with hopes of maintaining a luxurious lifestyle, consider these top universities for wealthy students.
Many colleges have staked out a specific niche in the crowded landscape of higher education. It is common knowledge among wealthy families which universities will reflect their status. For the purposes of this list, that includes both a history of admitting wealthy students and educating those who go on to become wealthy. Of course, there is significant overlap between those two groups at the best universities for wealthy students.
Just like being labeled a party school, earning a reputation as a university for wealthy students can be a double edged sword. But I've selected several schools that do much more than just meet the societal demands of the most elite families on earth. They all provide stellar educations worthy of tuition rates that reflect their statuses as universities for wealthy students.
What sets these universities for wealthy students apart
Aside from a penchant for admitting students from well to do families, the schools on this list tend to share a few general qualities. Many have deep historical roots in their community and beyond. It takes this strong sacred bond to earn the trust of some of the world's most influential families for generations.
You might find a famous face, or a celebrity's relative on a few of these campuses. Others cater to students with a lower profile, but not necessarily a lower net worth. There is some overlap in the predominant majors of many of these colleges, but there are options for just about any career aspirations.
The Best Universities for Wealthy Students
Now that we've established the qualities that set apart the best universities for wealthy students, let's dive right in. The following universities provide students with superior education, networking opportunities, and world-renowned degrees.
1. Oxford University
Location: Oxford, England
There is perhaps no more respected institute of higher education on the planet. For one thing, it's the oldest existing university with an education based in the English language. At the same time, there are few more associated with an admission process favoring the upper crust.
With the who's who among British elite clamoring to attend on any given year, Oxford University has sought to shed its elitist image. Officials have made it clear in recent years that merit is the sole qualification for admission to the esteemed school. Eve still, that hasn't stopped Oxford University from attracting some of the richest young adults in the U.K. and around the world.
This is a school that by any measure belongs on a list of universities for wealthy students. One young member of an affluent Arabian family helped cement this reputation a few years ago. He solicited a tutor to help him gain admission to the university. The compensation? More than $200,000.
2. Brown University
Location: Rhode Island, USA
Here's one of the universities for wealthy students where incoming freshmen might get to cross paths with a celebrity or two on campus. Brown University has gained a reputation for attracting students from prominent families. In many cases, the students themselves are pretty famous.
A few of the recent big names school officials can drop include the daughters of both Jack Nicholson and Steven Spielberg. Household name or not, though, this university is brimming with trust fund recipients eager to show off their wealth. Since less than 50 percent of the student population even qualifies for any financial assistance, you can bet there's money being spent on more than just books.
Among American campuses, this is one likely to have more than its share of shiny new sports cars and luxury sport utility vehicles. But some international schools are even more ostentatious.
3. American University Dubai
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
If you're hoping to find some exotic cars and other signs of material wealth, give this university a shot. American University in Dubai is exactly what you'd expect from an expensive institution in the United Arab Emirates.
Located in a nation known for the opulence of its skyscrapers and 7 star hotels, this college fits right in. If you're familiar with Dubai, you might've figured this city would claim one of the top universities for wealthy students.
One thing that really sets this school apart are parking lots littered with high-end luxury vehicles. If you're in a Honda Accord, you're likely to feel out of your element, regardless of how nice your wheels are. Between the requisite Porches and Range Rovers you're likely to find your peers stepping out of a Ferrari or two. In fact, An international student from Canada described the experience, especially the cars she saw on campus, "just ludicrous."
The United Arab Emirates has emerged as one of the wealthiest nations on earth in recent generations. Thanks to its extensive oil reserves, there's no shortage of luxury on display. As the American University in Dubai proves, that trend extends onto campus in a big way.
4. Yale University
Location: Connecticut, USA
Here's another university trying to escape its reputation as one of the most obvious universities for wealthy students. Recent reports indicate nearly 7 in 10 Yale University students come from wealthy families. Fewer than 1 in 10 get a Pell Grant.
The school made an apparent effort to impact those statistics in 2014 with a call in its alumni magazine. A passage in one issue that year declared that Yale University was looking for "smart students from poor families." That economically targeted ad was widely panned as a ham-handed attempt at outreach by critics, though. It ultimately led to an apology from the university.
Whatever the ratio of wealthy families, there's no denying the incredible history of Yale University. With U.S. presidents like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush among its graduates, Yale has proven it can educate the next generation of leaders. If your parents have a deep wallet, this is a top choice.
5. University of Mumbai
Location: Maharashtra, India
Let's go to colorful Mumbai on India's west coast for the next entry on the list of universities for wealthy students. One prominent Indian news source reported that the University of Mumbai's alumni includes more multi-millionaires than either Cambridge or Brown.
This campus has plenty of rich students around at any given time. What's more impressive, though, is that many of its graduates go on to become rich (or a heck of a lot richer.)
Much of the money on display around the University of Mumbai is inherited. Often, students are already worth many millions of dollars just by virtue of their birth. That's not to say they don't often graduate to go on to make their own fortunes, but that's not exactly what this school is known for. Perhaps more than some of the other entries on this list, the University of Mumbai truly defines universities for wealthy students.
6. University of Pennsylvania
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
I'll end back in the United States for an entry that surprised me. Sure, it's an Ivy League university. Yet, I didn't think the University of Pennsylvania would rank so high among universities for wealthy students.
As it turns out, about 3 in 10 students come from a home with more than $250,000 in annual income. Roughly 2 in 3 freshmen come from upper middle class families. It also has its share of prominent alumni, including U.S. President Donald Trump and actor Denzel Washington. Comedian Joan Rivers also attended the University of Pennsylvania.
You might not expect to go on to make as much as they did, but the school produces plenty of wealth. A recent report indicates a group of about 1,500 University of Pennsylvania graduates holds an estimated $240 billion in assets. It makes the roughly $60,000 annual tuition seem like a downright bargain by comparison!
The rich really do live separate lives. There's even a class of universities for wealthy students.
You can get an education anywhere. There are plenty of tools online and off to find out about tuition, boarding, safety, graduation rates, programs, etc. One thing that can be hard to gauge though, is the type of students you'll find on campus.
Any of these schools will provide the basics: a solid education, a chance to meet new people. Some will require international travel. Some might be in a neighboring city or state. In any case, attending college should be in part about expressing what is important to you. And if you want to continue the life you've become accustomed to, these colleges are for you. They're especially recommended if you're not quite satisfied with the level of financial success your family has already achieved.
These schools have a track record of accepting rich students and sending out graduates who become even richer. Not a bad investment at all. I hope I've provided a few options if you're hoping to follow the same trajectory. Additionally, if fellowship with other wealthy scholars is important to you, this list is a good place to start.
Which of the universities for wealthy students is right for you?
In my estimation, it's hard to beat the all-around historical significance of Oxford University. But you might value factors like American University in Dubai's open embrace of opulence. The draw of celebrities might make others more appealing. Whatever you're looking for, if you've got the cash, one of these schools has got the education.
Related Article: Top 10 Luxury Boarding Schools to Study at