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Capital Campaign Reaches Goal on Financial Aid

By Lu Shao
By Jamie D. Halper, Crimson Staff Writer

With just months left in Harvard’s record-breaking capital campaign, the school has met its $600 million financial aid goal, according to donor Michael T. Kerr ’81.

The campaign, which publicly launched in Sept. 2013, surpassed its $6 billion goal in 2016 and had raised more than $8 billion as of June. Even as the overall campaign shattered higher education fundraising records, as of January, it had yet to meet the College’s financial aid goal.

At an event for scholarship donors and recipients in New York City in January, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd R. Blankfein ’75, and Class of 2016 senior class gift marshall Kia C. Turner ’16 made the case for financial aid.

As the campaign neared its finish line, donors stepped up to close the gap.

“We have achieved the target of $600 million,” Kerr said in an interview this week.

University representatives informed a group of donors about the milestone at a meeting two weeks ago, Kerr said.

Fundraising around financial aid got off to a strong start early in the campaign, when Kenneth C. Griffin ’89 gave a $125 million gift in Feb. 2014—the largest donation the College had ever received at the time, which funded hundreds of scholarships.

The University has not yet announced the specific gifts that helped the campaign reach its goal, but two alumni familiar with the matter say they expect an announcement in April.

Kerr said donors and some financial aid recipients will celebrate the financial aid campaign’s success at an annual dinner called “Celebration of Scholarships” on April 13 at the Northwest Building. He called the event “one of the finest nights we do for alumni on campus.”

Back in January, some alumni said they had been surprised that this particular benchmark had yet to be reached.

Roy G. Geronemus ’75, who has funded scholarships at the College for the past 15 years, said in January he was surprised the financial aid drive was lagging behind.

“I would have assumed that they would have been further along in obtaining the support that they need to give Harvard students whatever is necessary,” he said.

Around 70 percent of Harvard students receive some form of financial aid, while 20 percent of students are on full scholarships.

Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesperson Anna Cowenhoven declined to comment on whether the campaign had met its financial aid goal.

—Staff writer Jamie D. Halper can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @jamiedhalper.

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FundraisingEndowmentUniversity FinancesFinancial Aid