A report issued last week by the National Association of Private Colleges and Universities noted that the number of schools facing financial difficulties increased from 20 per cent in 1975-76, to 34 per cent in 1976-77.
According to the report, a major cause of these problems was the tendency of private institutions to rely on gifts rather than their endowments to meet operating expenses.
"Harvard has had a number of increases in its endowment over the last few years," Mellissa D. Garrity, assistant to the dean of the Faculty for financial affairs, said yesterday. She added that the endowment's growth rate is second among major universities.
Peter F. Clifton '49, director of the Harvard College Fund, yesterday termed last year "the high point" for alumni donations. More than $6.3 million was raised, Clifton said.
The financial difficulties plaguing a growing number of private institutions, according to the report, has been accompanied by gradual increases in enrollment at some of the schools, but the schools' ability to recruit top caliber students has apparently not been affected.
William Fitzgibbons '49, director of undergraduate admissions, said yesterday, "The number of students we accept annually has remained generally the same during the last few years."
"The quality of those students accepted annually has remained constant during the last ten years and there is no indication that this year's incoming freshmen will be a deviation from this pattern," Fitzgibbons added.