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Assets decline in '02, but long-term outlook good, report says

Steady support from MIT alumni and friends, new revenues from real estate and licensing, and an investment strategy focused on the long term have afforded the Institute "a relatively strong financial position" going into 2003, according to the 2002 Report of the Treasurer.

With $7.1 billion of net assets, MIT has a "solid base on which to continue building for the future," wrote Treasurer Allan S. Bufferd and Executive Vice President John R. Curry in their summary of the report, which covers the fiscal year that ended June 30.

That $7.1 billion represents a decrease of 9.8 percent from last year due to the decline in capital markets, the report states, describing these as "difficult economic times."

But the long-range view is hardly dim. Even with last year's losses, MIT's total invested assets have increased $2.8 billion over the past five years as a result of gifts and investment appreciation. (Some copies of the report already distributed erroneously give that figure as $2.1 billion.)

And the Campaign for MIT has cast its own bright light. By June 30, the campaign, a seven-year effort to raise $1.5 billion, had recorded gifts and pledges of more than $1.46 billion--more than 97 percent of its goal--in just over five years. It reached the goal in October. At its meeting on Oct. 4, the MIT Corporation extended the campaign's fund-raising target to $2 billion.

"This demonstrates a deep belief on the part of many individuals and foundations that what we do at MIT is really important," said President Charles M. Vest.

The Campaign for MIT has already had an impact across the Institute, providing funding for 64 endowed faculty chairs, 171 endowed and expendable scholarships, and 223 endowed and expendable graduate fellowships. Fifty percent of alumni have participated so far.

Gifts and pledges increased 14 percent, from $207.2 million in 2001 to $236.6 million in 2002. Individuals continue as the largest source for new gifts, with support for research and education programs the largest component of new gifts and payments on pledges, the report noted.


Research revenues in departmental and interdepartmental laboratories increased 4.5 percent over last year, yielding $419 million in 2002.

Research revenues at Lincoln Laboratory grew from approximately $350 million to $390 million, an increase of about 10 percent.

Industrial support of campus research remained comparable with fiscal 2001 at about $91 million. Industrial sponsors as a group remained the largest source of sponsored funds at MIT, followed by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, according to the report.

The Institute's income from fees and services "grew substantially" in 2002. This growth in revenue was due to a $32.7 million increase in income from the licensing of intellectual property, which resulted primarily from the recognition of future royalty payments over the next 10 years with an estimated present value of approximately $23.5 million.


With a slight increase in the number of students and with financial aid increasing $14 million to $144 million, net tuition revenue from undergraduate and graduate students decreased $7 million to $153.8 million. The net tuition revenue provided one-tenth of MIT's total operating expenses last year.


Operating expenses increased $143 million, or about 10 percent, to a total of $1,536 million in 2002. The largest share of this was research spending, up almost $70 million from last year.

Discretionary spending in schools and departments for sponsored non-research activity grew approximately $32 million, up about 30 percent from last year. These costs arose from growth in salaries, employee benefits, student support, space changes and increased obligations to inventors in connection with license agreements.


Three large-scale and pivotal campus life projects were completed in 2002--Simmons Hall, the Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center, and the graduate residence at 70 Pacific St.

Construction of these new buildings--along with significant renovations, instruction and research facilities improvements, utilities upgrades and relocation and landscape projects--increased the book value of MIT's fixed assets by 33 percent to $1.173 billion in 2002.

Other ongoing Institute construction projects include renovation of the Dreyfus Chemistry Building, and the new Ray and Maria Stata Center for Computer, Information, and Intelligence Sciences. Projects in the design development stage include an expansion of buildings housing the Sloan School of Management; the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; and the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Center.

"The Institute's construction program is a visible indication of our commitment and investment to keep MIT in the forefront of academic initiatives in education and research for the years to come," Bufferd and Curry wrote in their report.

These projects were partially funded through gifts. The balance was funded through the issuance of tax-exempt debt. The Institute issued almost $260 million of additional debt, increasing outstanding debt by almost 48 percent to $772 million. The Institute's publicly held debt continues to be rated triple A by both Moody's and Standard and Poor's, the report noted.


"From the financial asset perspective, this past year was a difficult one, resulting primarily from the significant turmoil in financial markets the world over, especially in the equity area, the major allocation of the Institute's investment portfolio," the authors of the Treasurer's report commented.

On June 30, total investments at market value were $6,476.5 million, a decrease of $857.9 million, or almost 12 percent, from last year. This decrease compares with a decrease of $277.9 million in the previous year, their report said.


The Institute's operations include tuition, research revenues, unrestricted gifts and bequests for current use, fees and services, other programs, investment income, the portion of net investment gains distributed to funds under the Institute's total return investment policy, auxiliary revenues and operating expenditures.

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