Thinking about our numbers. Financially, it was the most positive year in the history of Boston University. Giving to the University was up. Faculty salaries increased. Financial aid disbursements were greater. The endowment went up. All that doesn’t happen easily, especially when you consider the recession and all the other financial challenges going on. A lot of people at BU spend a lot of time thinking how to make the numbers work right and to ensure our financial stability. See how they’ve succeeded on so many levels by downloading our financial statement (PDF). Keep reading...
The University’s financial success during this year is due in no small part to the sustainable, fiscally proactive measures taken the year before at the onset of the recession. That included making targeted cuts in areas where costs could be reduced permanently. The key word, then, is “sustainable,” as the benefits of this strategy had a big impact this year and will resonate for many years.
For example, there were no hiring freezes or cutbacks in the academic arena in FY 2010. Indeed, the University hired 74 new faculty on the Charles River Campus during the 2009–2010 academic year, including 14 new tenure-track positions, and current faculty received raises that averaged 3.5 percent. Academic and administrative departments also began hiring for non-faculty positions after a seven-month hiring freeze. Since May 2009, the University has seen an overall net increase of 55 positions on its payroll.
The University put a record amount of incremental funding ($90 million) into academics and infrastructure. One example was at the College of Fine Arts, which finished renovating the music practice rooms, doubling the number of usable rooms and creating perhaps the largest college practice space in the country. We outfitted more than 1,200 classroom seats on the Charles River Campus with new media equipment. Also, two classrooms in the College of General Studies were renovated and combined to create a 63-seat case-style classroom equipped with state-of-the-art technology resources.
The University also gave the go-ahead to build a new six-story, 106,000-square-foot structure that will house up-to-date dining facilities for the East Campus and, more importantly, space for services that are key to student success, including the Educational Resource Center, Career Services, and pre-professional advising for medicine and law. Construction is slated to begin in the winter of 2011, with an opening date set for fall 2012.
While spending money wisely, the University did well raising it, too. FY 2010 was a record year by many measures. Gifts grew by 15 percent, reaching $85 million. Pledges were up 68 percent, to $84.3 million. The annual fund reached a historic high, and while prior to 2005 the University had received only one gift at the $10+ million level, in 2010 BU announced three such gifts. One alumna left BU students the largest-ever endowment gift for scholarships. At the same time, alumni showed up in record numbers and locales—38,000 strong at more than 700 meetings around the world—to support and reconnect with BU. And nearly 30,000 people joined the Alumni Association’s Facebook fan page.
Thinking about the students’ financial needs
Knowing how much an education can cost, BU tries to think about the students and their families and the impact those costs can have. The University limited the tuition increase for the 2010–2011 academic year to 3.7 percent—the lowest amount in three decades. In FY 2010 over $18 million more was provided in financial aid than in the prior year. That’s because students and their families were still feeling the effects of the recession, which meant more students qualified for more aid.
The good news is, the University was able to ensure that students who qualified were given the assistance they needed. Again, that’s a direct result of last year’s decisions to get out in front of the recession and take the steps needed to keep financial aid—and indeed the entire University—on solid financial ground.
These charts give you a good snapshot of the kind of year we had:
FY 2010 Revenue and Expense
Sponsored Program Awards* FY 1971 through FY 2010 (Millions)