Endowments at the nation’s elite prep schools have exploded over the past decade, mirroring the trend at top colleges, reports the New York Times. America’s older schools have fared best: the endowment of Phillips Exeter Academy in NH has broken $1 billion, double its amount in 2002, while Phillips Academy in Andover holds more than $800 million.
The money funds world-class libraries, museums, even made-to-order omelettes in dining halls—as well as financial aid programs. “We are trying to create a level playing field,” says Exeter’s principal. Critics, however, see a widening gap between such private schools and their often-strapped public counterparts.