In what I'm taking as a sign of continuing Impending Doom on the economic front, I received mail from the 3 levels in the hierarchy above me regarding the financial state of Harvard in these tough times. (First from Harvard President Drew Faust which is where the title quote comes from, then the Dean of the Faculty of Arts of Sciences, and then the Dean for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.)
Little was given in way of specifics, but the general theme was clear. About 1/2 of Harvard's budget comes from the endowment payout each year. (The curse of a large endowment -- this number is probably higher than most institutions.) While nobody is giving a number for Harvard, the widely quoted statement from Moody's financial research is that endowments will lose about 30% this year. Given that Harvard has been outperforming the market and most other endowments over an extended time period, you can take your guess as to whether our losses will be above or below average. No matter how you do the math, it's not good.
So that means there will be some belt-tightening, and some delays in various plans. Again, very little in the way of specifics, but I'm sure (and Faust's letter suggested) that Harvard's new progressive financial aid program would not be touched. I imagine most everyone is getting similar messages at other institutions, but feel free to share your stories in the comments.