University slated to operate at surplus for next 10 years
The University is operating on a surplus for fiscal year 2015, as University President Frederick Lawrence announced the faculty meeting last Thursday.
The University has been operating at a deficit for several years, Lawrence said at the meeting. Provost Lisa Lynch said later in the meeting that a surplus is projected to hold for the next 10 years.
According to Lawrence, the budget had initially been projected to reach a surplus by fiscal year 2016 or 2017, meaning that the University is a year ahead of schedule. Lawrence added that there will still be a 5.9 percent draw rate from the endowment in order to achieve this surplus, which he said is “more than we like it to be,” but compared that number to the 6.8 percent draw rate from when he first joined the University in 2011.
“We have, by most measures, turned a corner and are into a position of being able to talk about choices going forward,” Lawrence said. “It’s a position of stability, a position that allows us to think about where we want to make investments going forward and as we move to the next stages of planning.”
The operating balance is the result of “strong undergraduate enrollment,” “higher personnel vacancy savings,” energy efficiency efforts and other procurement efforts, wrote Senior Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Marianne Cwalina in an email to the Justice. However, she added that it is still early in the fiscal year and that the operating budget surplus will depend upon “a number of costs and revenues in the spring semester.”
The Integrated Planning and Budget Committee, which Lynch chairs, will be reviewing operating and capital budget requests pertaining to the strategic plan over the next few months. “We are using a 10-year financial planning model to project balanced operating budgets and surpluses,” Cwalina wrote. “The final operating bottom line will depend on the strategic planning investments and choices made by the University.”
—Rachel Hughes and Sam Mintz contributed reporting.
Editor's Note: Fiscal year 2015 is, in fact, the current fiscal year.