Financial Overview

Summarized financial information for the year ended June 30, 2017

The University’s operating surplus for the year was $114 million or 2% of revenue, higher than last year’s operating surplus of $77 million, or 1.6% of revenue. The balance sheet was strengthened this past year as net assets increased by $1.7 billion, or 4%, to $44.1 billion. The increase in net assets was driven by endowment returns in excess of distributions, as well as new gifts to the endowment and to capital projects. Moody's and Standard & Poor's both reconfirmed Harvard's AAA rating this past year. 

Read the full FY17 Financial Overview from the Vice President for Finance and the Treasurer

Operating Revenue

Total operating revenue increased 5% to $5 billion. The largest drivers were the annual endowment distribution, revenue from continuing and executive education programs and sponsored revenues.

Sources of Operating Revenue for Fiscal 2017
Endowment income made available for operations 36%
Student income 21%
Sponsored support 18%
Gifts for current use 9%
Other 16%


Operating Expenses

Total operating expenses increased by 4% to $4.9 billion. Compensation expense (i.e. salaries, wages and benefits), which represents approximately half of the University's total operating expense, increased 5% to $2.5 billion.

Operating Expenses for Fiscal 2017
Employee salaries, wages, and benefits 50%
Operating expenses
(space and occupancy, services purchased, supplies and equipment, other expenses)
Depreciation and interest 11%
Scholarships and other student awards 3%

Read the full FY17 Financial Report

Harvard's Endowment

Harvard’s endowment is a dedicated and permanent source of funding that maintains the teaching and research mission of the University. Made up of more than 13,000 individual funds invested as a single entity, the endowment’s returns have enabled leading financial aid programs, groundbreaking discoveries in scientific research, and hundreds of professorships across a wide range of academic fields.

Distributions from Harvard’s endowment provide a critical source of funding for the University. The endowment distributed $1.8 billion in the fiscal year 2017.

About 70 percent of the funds that make up Harvard’s endowment are restricted to specific programs, departments, or purposes (dedicated scholarships, named professorships, etc.), and must be spent in accordance with terms set forth by the donor. Payout from these funds can only be spent in support of the fund’s designated purpose. 

Unrestricted funds, which account for about 30 percent of Harvard’s endowment, are more flexible in nature and are critical in supporting structural operating expenses and transformative, strategic initiatives.

Learn more about Harvard's endowment