Harvard University, the richest U.S. college, is forecasting a revenue shortfall of nearly $1.2 billion over two academic years, showing how the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic are crippling schools.
Harvard faces a drop of $415 million in anticipated revenue for the year ending June 30, and a further $750-million shortfall compared to budgeted expectations for the year beginning July 1, Executive Vice President Katie Lapp said in a statement Tuesday.
Colleges across the country are already dealing with lost revenue, with refunds for room and board, endowment declines and summer program cancellations all contributing. But the bigger issues will hit in the months ahead, when schools will likely have fewer students — with more financial need — showing up for the new academic year. If classes are held online, they’ll also forgo money from empty dorms.
“The university is facing significant financial challenges which will require difficult decisions in the coming months,” Lapp said in the statement. “It is clear that additional cost saving measures will be needed in the coming months including the possibility of furloughs and layoffs of some members of our workforce.”
Harvard also extended by a month until June 28 the guarantee of pay and benefits for staff whose work has been displaced.
Meanwhile, Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber said Monday that the Ivy League school will decide in early July whether undergrad teaching will be online or on campus in the next term.
“The pandemic will not pass quickly,” Eisgruber wrote in a post on the university’s website. “We cannot simply hunker down, pick up the pieces, and return to normalcy.”
The New Jersey-based university is exploring ways to reopen its laboratories, libraries and other facilities when state law allows.