Don’t Feel Sorry for Harvard

Instead of temporarily dipping into its nation-sized endowment, Harvard University has decided to lay off 275 workers, Reuters reports:

The Ivy League school took the action to meet budget constraints caused by an estimated 30 percent fall in its endowment for its 2009 fiscal year, ending June 30. […]

Another 40 staff were offered reduced work hours.

While the layoffs affect a fraction of Harvard’s 16,000 staff and faculty, they illustrate the recession’s toll on America’s oldest institute of higher learning and other universities which depend on endowments and donations.

Harvard’s endowment, which stood at $37 billion on June, 30 last year, tumbled to $29 billion by December and is projected to end this month at about $25 billion, hit by volatility in financial markets and a drop in donations. The endowment funded about a third of Harvard’s operating budget in 2008. […]

Boo hoo. Poor Harvard and its $25 billion. I feel for the workers at Harvard and for its students who pay exorbitant tuitions while receiving politically correct indoctrination.

Some of the wealthiest universities in America are the biggest tightwads, Lynne Munson argued in an April 2008 Foundation Watch.

Harvard is notoriously tight-fisted. While tuition continues to skyrocket, institutional spending from tax-free higher education endowments (including Harvard’s) remains meager. By sitting on donations –which are largely intended to benefit students– for generations, they violate donor intent.

Don’t feel sorry for Harvard.

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