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City College of San Francisco Begins Downsizing

City College of San Francisco's governing board early Friday approved changes to its leadership structure, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The college, which is facing dire accreditation and budget woes, will require that dozens of academic department chairs go back to the classroom and relinquish their administrative duties. The move, which will save an estimated $2 million, was part of the first stage of a broad downsizing. Trustees also approved cuts to college-operated child-care centers.

Early endowment results show college investments lost value

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Preliminary data from annual survey of college endowments show that institutions averaged a small loss in investment wealth, with institutions of all size seeing minimal returns.

U. of California Ordered to Disclose Venture Fund Returns

A state judge on Tuesday issued a tentative ruling ordering the University of California System to obtain and release data on the performance of specific venture funds in which it has investments, Reuters reported. The university has maintained that the information isn't covered by open records laws because it receives investment performance in aggregate, not fund by fund. But the judge ruled that the university must make a "good faith" effort to obtain the information, and then to release it.

 

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California Cuts Lead Students to Private Colleges

California's budget cuts to public higher education are leading more students to look at private colleges and universities, the Associated Press reported. Some public students, frustrated by being closed out of sections of courses, are transferring. Others, hearing such reports, aren't going public in the first place. Enrollment at the University of La Verne has increased 70 percent in the last five years. Saint Mary's College of California has seen a 51 percent increase in applications since 2009.

 

U. of Cambridge turns to bonds, and some worry about the risk

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U. of Cambridge turns to bonds, an unusual approach in Britain, but some fear risks associated with the strategy.

No Evidence Found That Dartmouth Violated Law With Investments

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office said Friday that allegations from this summer that Dartmouth College trustees steered the college's investments toward their own firms did not merit further investigation and that the office had found no evidence of wrongdoing. An anonymous letter to the office earlier this year alleged that at least 10 Dartmouth alumni who sat on its board of trustees and investment board had made investments that were good for them but bad for the institution's long-term financial health. "Based on the unsupported nature of the allegations in the Complaint, the content of the Responses, and our review of the college's most recent financial statement," the office wrote in a letter to the college's general counsel Friday, "we find no basis to conclude Dartmouth's Trustees have violated state law by engaging in related party transactions involving the investment of a portion of Dartmouth's endowment."

“The Attorney General’s finding that these anonymous and baseless allegations are without merit speaks to the rigor of Dartmouth’s policy and practice," the college said in a statement. "As we have said previously, Dartmouth meets or exceeds all the requirements of New Hampshire law with regard to its endowment investments and for investments with firms managed by trustees or Investment Committee members.”

Opposition to Lucrative Parking Idea at Indiana U.

Faculty and staff members at Indiana University at Bloomington are signing petitions and protesting the idea of a long-term lease by the university of its parking facilities, the Associated Press reported. Ohio State University recently signed a deal to lease its parking facilities for 50 years -- earning Ohio State $483 million. Indiana officials want a similar deal, but employees say that they fear a loss of jobs and less control over the fees charged to those who park there.

 

Private College Tuition Up by 3.9%, Smallest Rise in 40 Years

Private colleges increased their tuition by an average of 3.9 percent in 2012-13, the smallest rise in four decades, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities announced Thursday. The association said its survey, which included responses from 445 of its 960 members, also found that the average institution's financial aid budget rose by 6.2 percent. The data come at a time of heightened pressure from politicians and the public for colleges to keep their charges within reach of students and families.

Moody's: Harvard's Endowment Returns Bad Sign for Others

Moody's Investors Service said Monday that the weak return on Harvard University's $30.7 billion endowment, which the university announced last week had shrunk 0.05 percent in the 2012 fiscal year, is a bad sign for endowment-dependent universities. The rating agency said the results probably won't affect Harvard's rating, but are likely to lead the institution and others to rethink their dependence on endowments. "Based on highly variable investment returns over the past decade, we expect endowment-dependent institutions to make more conservative spending decisions for future fiscal years and to more fully assess their operational vulnerability to investment volatility," the agency wrote. "Budgetary models are increasingly stress tested, and management teams are adjusting to more conservative assumptions about long-term rates of return on their endowment. Many have lowered their assumed annual endowment returns to 7 percent to 8 percent, compared to the higher 9 percent to 10 percent return assumptions that were common prior to 2009."

Only a handful of private universities have announced their returns for the past fiscal year, but Moody's projects most endowments to have returns similar to Harvard's. "Most university endowments likely declined by 1 percent to 5 percent in fiscal 2012, net of new gifts, owing to weak investment performance and 4 percent to 6 percent endowment spending for the annual budget," the rating agency wrote.

Which Universities Pay the Most to Localities?

A report Friday from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy explores changes in the payments colleges, universities and other tax-exempt institutions make to municipalities in lieu of taxes, finding that they are concentrated in the Northeast and focus primarily on higher education institutions, which account for two-thirds of all payments in lieu of taxes. In recent years, as municipalities have struggled with revenue constraints, they have turned to asking local higher education institutions to contribute to the municipal budgets, a request that has sometimes led to confrontations between city leaders and higher education institutions, particularly in Pittsburgh and Providence.

Notable among the report's findings is that the majority of all money given to municipalities through PILOT agreements comes from just 10 institutions, eight of which are universities or academic medical centers: Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, Brown University, Boston University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Princeton University. The list suggests that municipalities target wealthy institutions, rather than those that are the biggest municipal burden or own the most land.

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