CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Harvard University's endowment earned an 11.3% gain on investments in the most recent fiscal year to surge to $32.7 billion.
The endowment for the nation's wealthiest university for the fiscal year that ended June 30, however, remains well below the high-water mark of almost $37 billion reached in 2008 before the financial crisis cost Harvard about $11 billion.
Jane Mendillo, president and CEO of Harvard Management Co., which oversees the Ivy League university's investments, says the endowment beat benchmarks and has recovered well since the recession started.
Distributions from the endowment contributed more than a third of the university's operating budget during the most recent fiscal year.
The endowment also supports financial aid programs that allow the university to admit qualified students regardless of their ability to pay.
More than 60% of Harvard undergraduates are receiving need-based aid this year, totaling more than $182 million, officials said. The average undergraduate student receiving financial aid pays only $12,000 and about one in five students pays no tuition.
The endowment is not a single fund but comprises more than 12,000 individual funds, many restricted to specific uses such as support of a research center or the creation of a professorship in a specific academic field.