In another sign of economic stress, Harvard has announced that its $36.9 billion endowment may face “unprecedented” losses in the coming year.
While a Harvard spokeperson declined to comment specifically on how the anticipated losses would affect university operations, the university has confirmed that it will continue to offer free tuition to students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year, and offer reduced tuition to families with annual incomes of as much as $180,000.
Other Ivy League schools are taking additional steps to mitigate students’ pain: Princeton will make more financial aid funds available to students, and Brown will relax rules barring students with unpaid tuition balances from registering for classes. Given the size of Harvard’s endowment, even if it faces losses this year, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the school take similar steps to protect its students.
If you’re applying to graduate school this year, the bottom line is that top schools don’t want to have to turn away anyone because of fianances, even in this economy. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and have a frank conversation with the financial aid office at your target school. Chances are that they want to work with you to help you make it work.