FAU PROFILE: Finances

The Florida Atlantic University operating and capital budgets for 2009-10 total $552.5 million. The operating budget is comprised of seven budgetary components: Educational and General, Student Financial Aid, Contracts and Grants, Auxiliary Enterprises, Athletics Local, Student Government and Concessions. While the State of Florida funding for higher education continues to create challenges for the State University System Florida Atlantic University remains financially sound. The budget development process, methods and techniques are carefully integrated to ensure effective best practices and to validate that decisions are directly tied to the University’s strategic goals and objectives. The operating budget is fully vetted through the Board of Trustee committee process and is formally adopted by the full Board of Trustees in June of each year. Comprehensive quarterly financial reports are presented as information items to the Board of Trustees.

The University’s current investment strategy is in short-term investments managed by the State of Florida, providing the most secure investments albeit with a smaller annual return. The total investment portfolio of the University is in excess of $150 million. A separate Foundation (FAUF) manages short and long-term investment strategies related to development and institutional advancement. The Foundation is responsible for several million dollars each year that fund student scholarships and eminent scholars, among other priorities.

FAU’s 2009-10 expenditure operating budget (all funds) represents an increase of 4.1 percent over the prior year. However, the portion of the budget that reflects state allocations of general revenue and lottery has suffered significantly over the past three years. This is due to the recent economic downturn that the entire nation has experienced. As a result, FAU’s education and general revenue budget for the 2009-10 was reduced by $16.7 million. In 2009-10, FAU received the first of a two-year commitment from the State of Florida for federal stimulus dollars — FAU was awarded just over $12 million, used to augment existing resources for faculty instruction. This amount mitigated the impact of a much larger potential reduction. Effective 2011-12, FAU will be required to fill that two-year, non-recurring void of $12 million; a collaborative planning process has begun to accomplish restoration of these funds. At this time, the plan consists primarily of a combination of tuition increases coupled with anticipated enrollment growth.

With the lowest average undergraduate resident tuition rates in the nation, Florida has room to grow in terms of maximizing that revenue stream. Until recently, the state legislature has played a key role in determining tuition increases. Of late, however, the State of Florida has recognized the need for its university system to be able to supplant lost state appropriations for operating with tuition revenues. Last year, FAU raised its tuition by 8% for all students, and this amount was augmented in part by another 7% for a pre-selected group of students. Even with that increase, Florida Atlantic University tuition and fee rates remain 50th in the nation for a full-time student. Pertaining to out-of-state tuition costs, FAU has made conscious efforts to slow down the trajectory of FAU’s non-resident tuition; at one time the FAU charge for non-resident students was one of the highest in the State of Florida. For the past three years, FAU has kept increases at a minimum for both the undergraduate and graduate non-resident student. For 2009-10, The College Board published rates that suggest our attempts have been productive. FAU is no longer the highest in the State of Florida in terms of its undergraduate non-resident rates and now ranks just under the median for the state ($17,557). In addition, the FAU non-resident undergraduate tuition rate of $17,532 compares favorably with the national average of $18,548 for institutions similar in mission to FAU.

Another key factor in the overall fiscal health of the University is the enrollment of new freshmen and transfers and the retention of lower-division and upper-division students. This past fall, FAU reached an all-time high in student headcount, enrolling just under 28,000 students. In addition, with retention rates at an all-time high, FAU has attained a stronger foothold in the Southeast Florida area. In addition, our student credit hour productivity is estimated to be approximately 5% higher than the previous fiscal year.

The University’s physical plant is valued at $1.2 billion. The State of Florida capital appropriation for 2010-11 will be less than in prior years, nearly $5 million. However, Florida Atlantic University has positioned itself well for the upcoming year due to the fact that the construction as well as the furniture, fixtures and equipment of major buildings have been funded from prior year appropriations. Planned construction includes the College of Engineering and the Arts & Letters buildings on the Boca Raton campus and a joint-use facility with the University of Florida on the Davie campus. Since 2000-01 a total of $375 million has been awarded Florida Atlantic University from a variety of state resources: Public Education Capital Outlay, Capital Improvement Trust Fund, Courtelis Fund and others.

As of June 30, 2009, the University has outstanding housing and parking bond debt of $177 million. Our current bond ratings from the major rating agencies, (Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch) are A to A+. In 2010, the University plans to issue $140 million in bonds to fund the first phase of the Innovation Village project, a 1,200-bed residence hall that fits well within our overall Boca Raton campus master planning efforts. In addition, the University is looking prospectively to finance the construction of a 30,000-seat football stadium from a combination of the sale of bonds and a successful development initiative.

Tuition and Fees per Credit Hour 2009-10

In-State Undergraduate: $139.55 
In-State Graduate: $293.94

Out-of-State Undergraduate:  $584.14 
Out-of-State Graduate: $920.66

Financial Aid

More than $123 million was awarded in 2007-08 to students through scholarships, grants, loans and work study; 53% of students received some type of aid.

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