February 18, 2009 / 8:04 PM / 10 years ago

Harvard to offer early retirements to save money

BOSTON, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Harvard University, the world’s richest, said on Wednesday that it will hold salaries flat for the next academic year, let staff retire early and slow construction of a new campus in Allston to save money.

Harvard President Drew Faust wrote to students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, saying that the economic downturn will require “taking some difficult steps.”

Late last year the Ivy League school shocked the investment and education communities by saying that its $36.9 billion endowment had lost 22 percent, or roughly $8 billion, in the first four months of the fiscal year that began in July. By the end of June that loss is expected to widen to 30 percent, Faust reiterated in her letter on Wednesday.

The news comes at a time when many universities around the country are looking for ways to cut expenses and raise money to try and make up for declines in their endowments.

Faust told the Harvard community that the school will launch a voluntary early retirement program this week, for which which 1,600 staff members will be eligible.

Harvard’s endowment traditionally supports more than one-third of the school’s annual operating budget.

At the same time, Faust said it will cost 3.5 percent more to attend Harvard next school year, when tuition, room, board and student services fees will be $48,868. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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