Hey Ivy League students, did you think that the walls of the Ivory Tower would shelter you from this global financial crisis? Figured you'd be able to continue pulling in your financial aid and frolicking in your school's brand new buildings full of fancy professors who teach one class per year and spend the rest of the time writing little-read books? Think again! Because it looks like even the mighty Harvard is losing billions in the current market downturn. More billions than you might expect:
For example, one of our sources has heard that most major university endowments (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc.) are down 25%-30% on a mark-to-market basis. Harvard is also reportedly trying to dump 1/3 of its private equity holdings to raise cash, which would be a seriously distressed move.
As a matter of fact Harvard—which has an endowment of almost $37 billion—is selling off $1.5 billion in private equity holdings, about a third of its total. And market rate now is only about 50% of their face value, meaning they are in serious need of cash. [And don't go too heavy on the schadenfreude, Harvard rivals; Clusterstock also hears that "a rumor is circulating that Columbia's endowment fund is illiquid [can't raise the cash it needs to fund current commitments]."] What does it all mean? First of all, welcome to capitalism, Harvard students! Perhaps the young Marxists will finally start winning arguments with the B-school students in the lunchroom. Second, the school will have to cut back somewhere—major budget areas like new construction could get hacked. And maybe some of Harvard's notoriously generous financial aid, too! And yes, you teachers may have to actually confront students, in a classroom. Scary! We've heard no rumors of this sort about Florida State University. Just something to consider. [Clusterstock]