Harvard Has Incurred Significant COVID Costs

President Lawrence Bacow © The Crimson

In an interview with The Crimson recently, Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow said the university’s expenditures related to the COVID-19 pandemic have been “significant,” including “tens of millions of dollars” in COVID testing alone.

In addition to purchasing and administering tens of thousands of tests, the university has been required to spend on curriculum redesigns and information technology necessary to sustain remote teaching. According to President Bacow, the pandemic has reduced the rate at which labs (some of which resumed in-person activities in June) spent their federal research grants. He also added, “That has consequences because for every dollar of direct expenditure on a government research grant, we get indirect cost recovery back, which supports the fixed cost of operating the university, and that money is not coming in as quickly.”

Bacow stated that Harvard had “done better in some areas than we anticipated doing, in part because the financial markets have recovered reasonably quickly.” He added, “That’s good news. But we also continue to face headwinds in other areas.” The university has lost “foregone revenue” from tuition, room, and board, as well as a dramatic decline in executive education activities.

For more Harvard-specific information on COVID-19, visit their Web site.

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