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BU by the Numbers

Facts and figures now online in 2006 Annual Report

Among the facts in the 2006 Annual Report: BU has invested $837.3 million in the past five years in property, plant, and equipment.

Did BU’s endowment grow in fiscal year 2006 by 12 percent, 20 percent, or 7 percent? How many students applied for the fall 2005 freshman class? How much did BU receive in externally funded program support? The answers to these questions:  20 percent, 31,431, and $325.8 million — can all be found in the recently released Boston University 2006 annual report.

Annual reports provide an opportunity to showcase achievements, and this one has many to highlight. President Robert A. Brown, for example, talks of “the sense of momentum and real progress we have achieved,” including the “extremely strong freshman class” of 4,212 students enrolled in September 2005, a record-high endowment of $946 million, and a fundraising record of $57.1 million in gifts (excluding private grants). 

The report also notes that the 2005 entering freshmen were among the most academically qualified in the University’s history. Their SAT average was 1278, and they were ranked, on average, in the top 12 percent of their high school class. About two-thirds of undergraduates received some form of financial assistance in fiscal 2006, and the University awarded $245 million in scholarships and other financial aid to undergraduate and graduate students.

The Medical Campus — made up of the School of Medicine, the Goldman School of Dental Medicine, and the School of Public Health — had a combined enrollment of more than 3,200 students. With 180 students — 55 percent of them women — the School of Medicine had its largest incoming class ever, up from 155 the previous year.

The numbers in the report, which is available online, provide some of the most interesting reading. They reveal, for example, that returns from private equity invested for the endowment were 66.7 percent, compared to a benchmark 27.7 percent, and that that rate helped BU achieve an overall 20 percent return for the endowment. They also inform us that about one-quarter of the University’s expenditures in FY06 — which ran from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006 — went to buy real estate contiguous to the campus, such as the building at 928 Commonwealth Ave., which now houses the School of Hospitality Administration.

Perhaps most important, they show us that the University had a balanced budget; in fiscal 2006 BU had an operating surplus of $19 million. That money, the report states, is invested in assets and “used primarily to help finance the construction of new facilities.”

The University’s total assets were $3.079 billion as of June 30, 2006, up from $2.806 billion a year earlier, and total assets have more than doubled over the previous 10 fiscal years.

If you crave more numbers, download the report and head to the back half: that’s home to the consolidated financial statements for 2006 and 2005.

Taylor McNeil can be reached at tmcneil@bu.edu.