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Penn was the second most represented school on the 2021 Forbes list of 400 richest Americans, falling just behind Harvard University’s 15 billionaires. Credit: Andres Castro

Penn ranked second among universities with the most billionaire American alumni on this year’s Forbes 400 list.

On Oct. 5, Forbes released its 2021 list of the 400 richest Americans. Out of the 400 people featured, 112 came from the same dozen schools. Penn was the second most represented school on the list with 14 billionaires, falling just behind Harvard University’s 15 billionaires. 

The majority of the billionaires featured earned degrees from the Wharton School. The list included alumni such as Steve Cowen, hedge fund investor and New York Mets owner; Laurene Powell Jobs, investor, philanthropist, and widow of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs; and heirs of Estée Lauder, many of whom graduated from Penn. 

The wealthiest Penn alumnus on the list is 1997 College and Wharton graduate Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Musk is worth $226.2 billion as of Oct. 21, which is more than triple what he was worth in 2020. He is currently the richest person in the world.   

Penn also ranked second in Forbes’ 2021 list of colleges with the most billionaire alumni.

A disproportionate amount of billionaires on the 400 list this year hailed from the same dozen schools, which claimed more than 25% of the billionaires. Out of the entire list, 71 billionaires attended an Ivy League school, 82 billionaires earned an MBA, 37 dropped out of college, and 19 never attended college at all, Forbes reported.

“Graduating from a top 12 school isn’t a requirement for admission to The Forbes 400. Nor is it a guaranteed ticket onto the list. But this select group of schools must offer some advantages, given their disproportionate share of the country’s wealthiest graduates,” according to Forbes. 

On average, the billionaires on this year’s list gave away a smaller percentage of their net worth than last year. Only eight people — dropping from ten last year — gave away more than 20% of their net worth, Forbes reported. Moreover, the amount of people who gave away less than 1% of their net worth rose from 127 to 156. 

“It has been a terrible year for many, but the good times keep on rolling for the nation’s richest,” Forbes wrote. 

The 400 richest Americans this year also saw a 40% wealth increase to $4.5 trillion from last year, and nearly all were richer than in 2020. 

“What hasn’t increased? Their generosity,” Forbes said.

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