Editors of the New Republic saw this tweet from NYU professor and Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer:
Top Univ Endowments & GDP equiv 1 Harvard (Jordan) 2 Yale (Afghanistan) 3 Stanford (Honduras) 4 Princeton (Bosnia) 5 MIT (Nicaragua)
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) April 27, 2014
That "Top 5" tweet compelled them to put together this "Top 10" map:
America's 10 richest universities have endowments equivalent to these countries' GDPs: http://t.co/I4ze0JMLJl
— The New Republic (@tnr) May 1, 2014
The University of Michigan's endowment falls in at No. 8 on the map.
Its $8.4 billion endowment is close to entire GDP of the Bahamas. GDP is a measure of a country's total economic output in goods in services in one year.
How is that endowment used at the U of M? The university has an extensive Q & A page to help:
The endowment is actually a collection of about 7,800 separate endowments, most of which have been donated to provide support for specific purposes such as scholarships, educational programs or professorships. To ensure continuing support for future generations, the funds themselves are not spent but invested so that part of the annual distribution can provide a steady flow of dollars each year.