Here's How Far The Trumps Really Got In School

When your family is American royalty like the Trumps, education at top schools is as much a part of the lifestyle as yacht parties and full-on sprints from the paparazzi. Nouveau riche or not, the Trump family is no different, boasting ivy league and almost-ivy league degrees up and down the family tree. Well, most of the family tree anyway.

While the Trump children's college educations have been fairly well documented, some unanswered questions still remain about Donald's time at the Wharton School and about Melania's formal education. Perhaps even more interesting is the educational history of Donald Trump's siblings, who range from a federal judge to an administrative assistant at Chase Bank. Not to mention Donald's father, Fred, who still laid the foundation for what would later be the Trump Organization. We took a look at Trumps past and present, and found out how far all of them made it in school.

Donald Trump graduated from the Wharton School

Donald Trump graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor of science in real estate in 1968. But for some reason, the school has been notoriously tight-lipped with any details regarding his time there. Philadelphia magazine perhaps put it best when it said responses from the school are "the academic version of name, rank and serial number," offering no information beyond Donald's year of graduation and degree attained.

Prior to attending the University of Pennsylvania, Donald attended Fordham University, where he had grades described as "respectable" in the book The Trumps: Three Generations That Built an Empire (via Heavy). He transferred to the more prestigious University of Pennsylvania after two years, gaining admission after an admissions officer who was friends with his brother Fred Jr. gave Donald an interview. Donald Trump does not, as The Washington Post clarified in a 2016 op-ed, have an MBA from Wharton, or any school for that matter, though he has never publicly claimed to.

Donald Trump Jr. has a bachelor's degree in finance from the Wharton School

Just like his famous father, Donald Trump Jr. attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, obtaining a bachelor's degree in finance and real estate in 2000, according to Quartz. While at Penn, Don Jr. had a reputation for drinking heavily and getting into fights. "To be fairly candid, I used to drink and party pretty hard," he told New York Magazine in 2004. A Vanity Fair story painted a slightly blunter picture of his behavior, quoting former Penn classmate Scott Melker as saying, "Every memory I have of him is of him stumbling around on campus falling over or passing out in public, with his arm in a sling from injuring himself while drinking."

Donald Jr.'s reported reputation with women was just as woeful. In a People feature on his time at Penn, a former partying buddy said, "Everyone was warned to stay away from Donnie Trump."

Ivanka Trump graduated from Wharton cum laude, but attended this school first

Perhaps no child has charted a similar course to the president like Ivanka Trump. Like her father, she did not initially attend the University of Pennsylvania, opting to attend Georgetown University after high school. According to Refinery29, Donald Trump had wanted Ivanka to attend Penn like he did, but she went to Georgetown to be with her boyfriend.

As early college relationships occasionally do, Ivanka's fizzled, so she transferred to the Wharton School at Penn. In her bio for her book The Trump Card, Ivanka claimed she graduated summa cum laude from Wharton. But HuffPost's Highline did some digging on the claim and discovered she graduated cum laude. That's the difference between a 3.4 and 3.8 GPA. According to the Highline story, Ivanka's people fixed the errors. "Any instance of confusion surrounding the specific level of honors she earned will certainly be clarified," Abigail Klem, Ivanka's chief brand officer, told Highline.

Eric Trump earned a degree in management from this school

Like his sister Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump also opted to attend Georgetown University. But unlike her, he stayed the entire four years, earning a degree in management and finance in 2006. And while his academic and personal record there were not the stuff of media headlines, he has definitely put himself in the news with the school over the past few years.

In 2018, he took umbrage with Georgetown professor Dr. Carol Christine Fair, who tweeted that white conservative senators "deserve miserable deaths" for their actions during Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing, as reported by Fox News. Eric responded, tweeting that Fair was "an absolute embarrassment to herself and this great institution."

In February 2020, Eric's return to campus for a roundtable with Turning Point USA executive director Charlie Kirk drew scores of student protestors donning orange shirts that read, "Unstoppable, Undeniable, Undocumented, Unafraid, #HomeIsHere." Though none of them turned violent, Eric still denounced the protestors and was quoted in The Hoya as saying, "When you see people dressed in orange jumpsuits like they came out of prison, no one is ever going to take them seriously."

Tiffany Trump graduated from this law school in 2020

Tiffany Trump attended the University of Pennsylvania, right in line with her father, older brother, and older sister. Interestingly, she attended with Naomi Biden, granddaughter of former vice president Joe Biden. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported both he and Donald Trump were present at the 2016 graduation.

After graduation, Tiffany opted for law school at what we can only assume is the lone acceptable alternative to Penn for a Trump child: Georgetown University. She graduated in May 2020 (via People), and though she has not announced any specific plans to take the bar exam or work at a law firm, she did hint that she might be joining the family business during a 2016 ABC News interview. "Of course, I'm interested. ... I'm applying to law school though so I like to bring — a different kinda skill set to the company," she said.

Donald Trump seemed delighted at the prospect of Tiffany getting herself a JD. He tweeted out, "Great student, great school. Just what I need is a lawyer in the family. Proud of you Tiff," when he congratulated her on her graduation.

Barron Trump started 9th grade at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in 2020

Barron Trump first attended Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in New York. According to an excerpt of the book Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady in Politico, Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen pulled several strings to get him in. In 2017, after his father moved into the White House, Barron finished the school year at Columbia, before moving to St. Andrew's in Maryland.

He started 9th grade in the fall of 2020, and despite his father's insistence to "OPEN THE SCHOOLS," St. Andrew's Episcopal School began the year offering virtual classes. "[The Montgomery County] directive aligns with our most current thinking about how to open school well in September while protecting the health of our students, families, and employees," head of school Robert Kosasky said in a letter to parents, as reported by CNN

Ivana Trump has a master's degree from Charles University in Prague

Donald Trump's first wife, Ivana Trump, has one of the highest levels of education of anyone in the immediate Trump family, besides Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump's sister Maryanne, though she technically hasn't been part of the family since 1992. 

The mother of Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr. was a competitive skier as a child, joining Czechoslovakia's youth ski team before being passed over for the 1972 Olympics, according to Hello! magazineHer athletic background led her to obtain a master's degree in physical education from Charles University in Prague. She didn't get much of a chance to use the degree, however, as she soon married Austrian skier Alfred Winklmayr and moved to Toronto. Their marriage fizzled, and Ivana moved to Montreal, where she began modeling. That work led her to New York, where, in 1976, she was drinking at Maxwell's bar when in walked Donald Trump. Nine months later they were married. 

We never really got a glimpse of Ivana's athletic prowess that led her to study physical education until she appeared on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars, where she dazzled audiences while dancing with ex-husband Rossano Rubicondi (via Daily Mail).

Melania Trump reportedly attended this university but didn't graduate

On her now-defunct website, First Lady Melania Trump claimed to have obtained "a degree in design and architecture at University in Slovenia," according to Snopes. The problem is there is no University of Slovenia. Other reports have been shared about her having attended the University of Ljubljana instead, but there's no record of her graduation.

According to PolitiFact, Melania lied in a 2013 deposition about her also defunct caviar skin cream line, repeating the claim she'd gotten a degree. The program for the 2016 Republican National Convention similarly mentioned Melania having graduated from the University of Ljubljana, according to CBS News. CBS News discredited the claim and maintained she has no degree.

A GQ interview with Melania claimed she "applied to the school of architecture at the local university, successfully passing the notoriously difficult entrance exams," but does not mention her earning a diploma and instead notes she "effectively [dropped] out" after a year to focus on modeling.

Fred Trump Sr. went to the Pratt Institute, but never received a college degree

The Trump family's history in real estate dates back over 100 years, to Donald Trump's grandfather Friedrich Trump running a bar, restaurant, and brothel in northern British Columbia during the Klondike gold rush. Freidrich returned to New York with his profits and began the city's Trump real estate empire. His son, Fred, was first in line to take the business over.

According to an excerpt from the book Brooklyn: The Once and Future City (via Lithub), Fred was an aspiring builder from an early age. He took night school courses in drafting and building and took construction management classes at the Pratt Institute. Though he reportedly never received a formal degree, Fred Sr. cashed in quickly on the 1920s building boom in New York, building single family homes throughout Queens by the time the depression hit in 1929. During the depression, Fred invested in a supermarket in Jamaica, Queens, and then began buying up distressed assets in Brooklyn to expand his empire.

Donald Trump's brother Fred Trump Jr. graduated from Lehigh

Donald Trump's oldest brother, Fred Trump Jr., didn't go to the University of Pennsylvania's famous Wharton School. He actually graduated from Lehigh University in 1960, according to The Washington Post. He also had ambitions of being a TWA pilot, studying up on aviation books while his father berated him for trying to be a "chauffeur in the sky," according to the Washington Post story. Ultimately, he gave up on that dream, and opted instead to work in the family business.  

Notably, while Fred didn't go to Wharton School to study business, he was, however, friends with James Nolan, an admissions officer at Wharton, who was instrumental in getting Donald Trump into the University of Pennsylvania. "He called me and said, 'You remember my brother Donald?' Which I didn't," Nolan said in an interview with The Washington Post. "He said, 'He's at Fordham and he would like to transfer to Wharton. Will you interview him?'" Nolan agreed to the interview, which Donald attended with his father, Fred Trump Sr. The admissions officer gave him a rating that was "decent enough to support his candidacy," and Donald finished his college years at Penn.

Mary Trump has a Ph.D. from Adelphi University

Many had not heard of Mary Trump before her tell-all book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man grabbed headlines a few weeks before the 2020 Republican National Convention. She is the daughter of Fred Trump Jr., who died of an alcoholism-induced heart attack at age 42 in 1981. Her literary prowess would be no surprise to anyone familiar with her educational background, however. The president's niece graduated from Tufts University with a degree in English literature and then went on to receive a master's degree in the same subject from Columbia University. Later she earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Adelphi University.

According to Forbes, Mary's book was not just a way of making use of her English lit degrees. It was the culmination of decades of frustration with Donald Trump, including a 2000 lawsuit she and her siblings brought over the division of Fred Sr.'s assets. She hasn't been quiet in her disapproval of the president, either, tweeting a few days after the 2016 election, "This has been one of the worst nights of my life." Notably, she publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Robert Trump graduated from Boston University

Prior to his time in the Trump Organization, Donald Trump's youngest brother, Robert Trump, attended Boston University. There the economics major enrolled in the College of General Studies in 1968, and the College of Arts and Sciences in 1972. Robert was also captain and MVP of the men's soccer team in 1969, according to BU Today.

Sadly, Robert died in August 2020, inspiring President Donald Trump to say in a statement, "He was not just my brother, he was my best friend" (via The New York Times). Prior to his death, Robert had made news by filing a restraining order to stop the publication of niece Mary Trump's book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man. "Her attempt to sensationalize and mischaracterize our family relationship after all of these years for her own financial gain is both a travesty and injustice to the memory of my late brother, Fred, and our beloved parents," he said in a statement to The New York Times.

Maryanne Trump Barry got a master's degree from Columbia and graduated from law school

The oldest of the Trump kids, Donald Trump's sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, attended Mount Holyoke College, and then received her master's degree from Columbia University in 1962. She took nearly a decade off from school, presumably to care for her children, before then going on to earn a JD at Hofstra University in 1974.

According to her page on the Federal Judicial Center website, Maryanne was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the State of New Jersey by Ronald Reagan in 1983. Sixteen years later, she would gain an appointment on the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, nominated by none other than Bill Clinton. This fact was somehow overlooked during the 2016 presidential campaign, when Clinton was a popular target of attacks from candidate Donald Trump. According to The New York Times, Donald Trump may have even had something to do with his sister's appointment, tapping then-attorney Ray Cohn to lobby a White House aide.

Elizabeth Trump Grau graduated from Southern Seminary College

Probably the least known of the Trump family is Elizabeth Trump Grau, Donald Trump's older sister who has somehow managed to keep a low profile during the family's height of fame. According to Business Insider, Elizabeth attended the Kew-Forest School in Queens, the same school President Trump went to. From there, she moved on to Southern Seminary College in Buena Vista, Va. It has since changed its name to Southern Virginia University.

In his book The Art of the Deal (via The New York Times), Donald Trump called Elizabeth "bright but less ambitious," which may explain why she didn't go much past being an administrative assistant at Chase Manhattan Bank, though some reports claim she worked as an executive. While working there, she met movie and TV producer James Grau, and they were married in New York in 1989. According to their wedding announcement in The New York Times, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry was Elizabeth's matron of honor and Grau's son James was best man. Donald Trump was listed as an usher.