SGA Details University Expenses and Revenues

Vice President of the Student Government Association (SGA), Matt Haley recently collaborated with several Executive Board members as well as the Vice President for Finance and Administration Brian Hutzley to determine where the University allocated students’ tuition.

“[SGA President} Sam Flood and I put it on our platform when running for presidency that we would show students where their $55,000+ goes each year, as we thought it is their right to know” Haley said.

In accomplishing this initiative, Haley and other SGA members conducted a meeting with Hutzley to examine where student money goes, with the ultimate goal of students becoming more aware and conscious of how the University spends their money.

First, Colgate’s revenue – accumulated from student charges, endowment support, gifts and grants, as well as other income – has more than doubled over the past 20 years. From 1993-94, Colgate’s revenue was $63,144,452, which increased to $114,850,990 in 2003-04, and is currently $167,329,233. The endowment support is critical as it now provides 22 percent of our funding. The endowment comes from the donations of our alumni, parents and the broader Colgate community.

“There are strict interpretations…for what you report where, so one of them that we use is called the [Integrated Postsecondary Education System] (IPEDS). We report based on IPEDS, every college reports based on IPEDS. There’s consistency, although it’s not perfect and not everyone does everything exactly the same,” Hutzley said.

After providing an introduction as to how Colgate administration calculates the percentage of revenue apportioned to academic programs and support, housing, dining and other services, athletics, student services and operation of facilities, Hutzley further elaborated as to the entailments of such categories.

Over the past 20 years, the percentage of Colgate’s revenue dedicated to academic programs and support has remained relatively constant, hovering at about 41.5 percent.

“[The money spent on] academic programs and support is used for direct instruction, so that would be faculty members, people that are in the labs that may or may not be faculty members, the libraries…educational related IT systems and support,” Hutzley said.

The percentage of Colgate’s revenue spent on housing, dining and other services has decreased from 17 percent to 10.4 percent from 1993-94 to 2013-14. Beyond the evident dining and housing facilities, Hutzley explains that such funds are used towards other student facilities such as the bookstore.  Most of this change is attributed to a change in reporting of debt service, which is now reported under Operations and Maintenance of Plant.

Currently comprising the smallest sector of Colgate’s revenue at 7.5 percent, the athletics department includes funding for teams, sporting events and equipment. Additionally, funding for student services such as Health and Counseling Services, Career Services and Leadership Programs currently consists of 7.7 percent of Colgate’s allocated revenue.

Marking the greatest percentage increase in each of the aforementioned categories is funding for the Operation and Maintenance of Plant, Debt Service and Plant Renewal, which now accounts for 17.8 percent of the current allocated revenue as compared to 14 percent in 1993-94. Hutzley explains that such costs are subject to change according to heating/utilities expenses, for example, vis-??-vis weather circumstances or building repairs/renovations and other related expenses. Colgate has also increased the overall number of buildings and square footage in the last decade.

The overall operating budget for Colgate is $164.7 million.  This can be broken down into three categories: debt service ($7.3 million), financial aid ($46.3 million) and operations ($111.1 million).

The spending budget is purposefully less than the revenue for the 2013-14 academic year to ensure that the University can appropriately yield to unanticipated changes or priorities.

In terms of financial aid, Hutzley first explains that the Discount Rate, total financial aid as a percent of tuition, has increased from 26.3 percent to 35.4 percent over the past 20 years, marking a nearly 10 percent augmentation. Hutzley explains that the University aims to transition from a need-aware to a need-blind state by 2019, which would mean that students’ financial aid requests and needs would not be considered in the University’s decision-making process.

Vice President Haley hopes that students maximize and seek opportunities to learn more about where the University allocates their tuition money.

“Just like you should know the features on the type of car you purchase, the college education that you purchase should clearly outline what (and for how much) you are paying for each feature,” Haley said. “This idea of full disclosure is intensified when the cost of college tuition is extremely high, and only increasing more and more each year.”

Contact Natalie Pudalov at [email protected].