Robert Wenzel, at Economic Policy Journal blog, has more bad news from Cambridge.
Harvard’s endowment got slaughtered in the financial crash, and hard times have arrived on the Charles. The school is wallowing in debt, and the administration is finding it necessary to undertake some dramatic belt-tightening. Seems only fair. Harvard, after all, gave us Obama, and it was the threat of his election which tanked the markets.
At Harvard University, they have lowered thermostats during the winter months from 72 degrees to 68 degrees. Hot breakfasts are no longer served on weekdays at undergraduate residential houses. Instead of bacon, poached eggs, and waffles, students have to get by on cold ham, cottage cheese, cereal, and fruit. These are just some steps Harvard is taking to battle serious financial problems. …
Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is facing a budget deficit of $220 million. Construction is halted on a $1.2 billion science complex.
Over the 20-year period from 1980 to 2000, Harvard University added nearly 3.2 million square feet of new space to its campus. But so far this decade, incredibly, from 2000 through 2008, Harvard has added another 6.2 million square feet of new space.
At it’s peak in 2008, Harvard’s endowment stood at $36.9 billion. Some estimates now have its value at around $18 billion, much of it in illiquid investments.
According to Forbes magazine, Harvard has $11 billion of unfunded commitmentsâ€”money promised, but not yet paid, to various private-equity funds, real-estate funds, and hedge funds.
Last December, the university sold $2.5 billion worth of bonds, increasing its total debt to just over $6 billion. Servicing that debt alone will cost Harvard an average of $517 million a year through 2038. …
Today, on average, a full professor at Harvard earns $192,600, before benefits; thatâ€™s more than he or she would make at any other school in the nation. (At Yale, for example, the average salary is $174,700. At the University of California, Berkeley: $143,500.)