Budget Breakdown: Closer look at University spending

Frank Lesnefsky
Staff Writer

With over 5,000 students and tuition costs exceeding $40,000, The University handles over $200 million in revenue each year and students are often unsure of how their tuition is being spent.

Due to its tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, The University must submit a document known as a Form 990 to the International Revenue Service. Form 990s are filed by organizations that are exempt from income tax, and they include a breakdown of the organization’s revenue, spending, assets and highest-paid employees.

According to The University’s 2015 Form 990, which covers the 2014-2015 school year, The University’s total revenue was $236,362,542, and its total expenses were $221,243,369. Nearly $213 million, or 90 percent, of this revenue came directly from students in the form of “program service revenue.” Actual tuition costs accounted for over $175 million of the program service revenue, and “auxiliary services,” which include food services and dorms, accounted for over $37 million. The University’s total assets were valued at $572,862,863 in May 2015.

The remaining revenue came from contributions and grants ($12 million), investment income ($8.6 million) and “other revenue” ($2.9 million).

By comparison, according to The University’s 2014 Form 990, its total revenue was $240,201,889 for the 2013-2014 school year, and its expenses were $210,438,951. Its total assets were valued at $542,057,336 in May 2014.

According to The University’s 2015 Form 990, salaries and wages constituted the largest category of expenses. The “compensation of current officers, directors, trustees and key employees” was close to $4 million, or 2 percent of total expenses, and the “other” salaries and wages, which include everyone else The University paid, were $66.5 million, or 30 percent of expenses. The highest-paid officer at The University received $271,617, followed by the highest-paid “key employee” who earned $257,806. Employees also received $21.9 million, or 10 percent of expenses, in benefits.

The compensation for the 23 highest-paid individuals at The University accounts for about 5.7 percent of The University’s total compensation, salaries and wages.

According to the 2015 990 Form, The University used this compensation to “attract and retain qualified personnel for senior executive administrative positions,” and it is determined by reviewing “comparable market data for positions at other higher education institutions.”

The University’s second highest expense was financial aid, which accounted for 28 percent of The University’s expenses.
According to The University’s 2015 Form 990, $61.4 million went toward “grants and other assistance to domestic individuals,” and The University’s Financial Aid Office also processed nearly $60 million “in the form of loans to students.”

According to The University’s website, 96 percent of freshman aid applicants received some form of financial aid during the 2014-2015 school year, and the “average freshman aid package, exclusive of parent loans, was $28,216.”

During 2012-2013 school year, The University spent about 25 percent of its total revenue on financial aid, about 23 percent in 2013-2014 and about 26 percent in 2014-2015.

After financial aid, employee compensation and employee benefits, according to its 2015 990 Form, The University’s remaining $71.4 million in expenses was divided between 24 other expenses that range from 0.02 percent of total expenses to 6 percent. These categories included: direct food costs ($9.2 million), internet ($6.9 million), repairs and maintenance ($4.8 million), office expenses ($2.9 million), books and publications ($1.6 million) and advertising and promotion ($1.0 million).
The University’s Form 990s for 2013, 2014 and 2015 can be accessed for free by creating an account on guidestar.org.

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