Who made billions during the pandemic? Harvard did. That's who.
Endowment soared to $53.2 Billion
While shrinking pandemic enrollments, combined with skyrocketing tuition costs make a college degree a pipedream for most students and threaten the very existence of public colleges and universities, heavily endowed private schools, like those in the Ivy League, are rolling in dough like never before.
Their secret? Cost-cutting on the education side, less reliance on student tuitions and alumni contributions, and more on returns from high-risk investments in private equity and hedge funds.
Harvard Management Company returned 33.6 percent on its investments for the fiscal year ending in June 2021, skyrocketing the value of the University’s endowment to $53.2 billion, the largest sum in its history and an increase of $11.3 billion from the previous fiscal year.
Of the schools that have announced their endowment returns, Dartmouth College reported 47 percent returns while the University of Pennsylvania posted 41 percent returns.
HMC CEO N.P. “Narv” Narvekar in Harvard’s Annual Financial Report published Thursday:
Narvekar wrote in his announcement that public and private equity markets were the main drivers behind the endowment’s “tremendous returns.” The endowment’s public and private equity assets boasted 50 percent and 77 percent returns, respectively.
HMC has dramatically reduced its assets in natural resources, real estate markets, and public equity, while increasing its exposure to hedge funds and private equity.
The University’s endowment has drawn scrutiny in recent years for its size and for its ties to the fossil fuel industry, to the prison industrial complex, and to Puerto Rican debt.
Following over a decade of student, faculty and alumni activism, University President Lawrence S. Bacow announced in September that Harvard would divest from the fossil fuel industry by allowing its remaining investments in fossil fuels to expire.
R.I.P. My friend and teacher Timuel Black passed yesterday at age 102. Even though we’ve been preparing ourselves for this sad day, I’m still shaken by his loss.