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Posted by on Dec 3, 2008 in Economy | 0 comments

Harvard Endowment Down 22% and Falling

The bigger they are, the harder they fall:

Harvard University’s endowment, which stood at $36.9-billion on June 30, has lost at least $8-billion in the four months since then, the university’s president says.

In a letter on Tuesday to Harvard’s deans, Drew Gilpin Faust said that Harvard’s endowment had lost at least 22 percent of its value since June 30 and had very likely lost more.

Harvard is preparing for a scenario in which the endowment, the largest of any university, is down 30 percent for the year, the letter said. Harvard, which takes 35 percent of its operating budget from investment income from the endowment, will need to reduce its overall spending to account for those losses.

Meanwhile, the NYTimes quotes a new report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education that “published college tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007, adjusted for inflation.”

Kevin Drum wonders is it really that bad?

Bob Somerby is astounded, as well he should be. The report is here, and the chart on page 8 is clearly labeled “Growth Rate in Current Dollar Price.” In other words, not adjusted for inflation. In real dollars, tuition costs since 1982 have gone up about 150%. That’s a lot, but not quite the quintupling the Times suggests.

For what it’s worth, my guess is that this number is strongly affected by big tuition hikes at state universities.

He notes Harvard tuition has more than doubled since 1981; and goes on to guess his state alma mater went up even more.