Moody’s: Harvard endowment’s performance is a ‘credit negative’ event

Harvard University’s 0.05 percent decline in its endowment last year was a “credit negative” event, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Harvard’s Aaa rating on its debt did not change. The Moody’s report indicates how the endowment performance could negatively impact the university’s overall credit profile. Harvard has been cautious with its debt for a few years now, and is holding down new borrowing in order to maintain its high credit ratings.

The university’s $30.7 billion endowment, the largest university endowment in the world, performed roughly in line with expectations for the fiscal year ended June 30, Moody’s said. But it underperformed rivals such as Yale University, which was up 4.7 percent, and Stanford University, which was up a point. MIT’s endowment climbed 8 percent.

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Harvard relies on the endowment to provide 35 percent of its annual operating budget.