The University expects the endowment to contribute more to the operating budget in the coming years, as the portion drawn from the endowment is based on its average market value over the past three years, according a Monday press release from President Christina Paxson P’19 that also included a broader suite of investments in financial aid and access to the University.
And money begets more money: Harvard saw a comparatively smaller return on its endowment this year, but its already-larger endowment size meant that smaller returns by percentage still brought back $11.3 billion.
With that in mind, Paxson said that the University will continue to assess what the next, “most important” challenges are surrounding financial aid.
Current gaps in financial aid, Paxson said, include better funding for public-service and low-paying internships, and making transfer admissions need-blind. “As we get more resources, we can move in those directions,” she said. “I’m excited about that.”
A vocal and sizable cohort of student protestors have also called upon the University to use its growing endowment to create more equitable conditions on campus.
“I hope they see we are using it,” Paxson said. “I hope they also understand that endowments are not checking accounts … Our endowment consists of thousands of accounts that are targeted for specific purposes … There are a lot of restrictions.”
“We want to use our endowment,” she continued. “The reason it’s there is to support the Brown community. But we have to use it in a way that is prudent. We could have a market crash tomorrow.”