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Mudd’s Finances: A Closer Look

By Jennifer Rogers ’16

 

Tuition is on the rise, with a 15% increase from 2012 to 2015. Many students are justifiably interested in knowing where all this money goes. To answer this question, I examined the college’s audited financial reports for the past four years, which are publicly available online.

Methods

I analyzed the college’s revenues and expenses (money it earns and spends every year), as well as its assets and liabilities (what it owns and owes over a longer period of time). These budget items were analyzed both in terms of total spending and on a per student basis. All years quoted are the figures for the academic year ending that June. The entire analysis, including data sources used, more detailed charts and spreadsheets, is available at cs.hmc.edu/~jrogers.

New Buildings: Expansion and Debt

We all know that there has been significant construction on campus recently, with the new Shanahan building and Drinkward dorm. In four years, Mudd spent over $71 million purchasing plant facilities, or $22,000 per student per year. A significant portion of this construction has been financed with debt. In 2015, Mudd owed $39 million in notes and bonds, which is more than double the $17 million it owed in 2014. We see that Mudd took on a net $22 million of debt during 2015, during which period it also spent $28 million on plant facilities.

Trends in College Expenses

Mudd reports its expenses in seven broad categories. I analyzed these expenses on a per student basis, since they are associated with the day-to-day operations of the school, and therefore should directly benefit current students. Instruction, Student Services and Institutional Support have all increased their spending at the same rate as tuition increases (roughly 15% per student over four years). Public Service has seen a smaller increase (8%), while Research, Academic Support and Auxiliary Enterprises have seen no strong trend. For reference, total inflation from 2012 to 2015 was roughly 3%.

There is very little data about how these yearly expenses are allocated. However, select expenses are included in the financial statements. I analyzed several of these expenses, and found increases in pension contributions (17% over four years) and financial aid (14%, which is still less than tuition), but no significant increases in Mudd’s fundraising budget or in payments to the consortium (which cover joint expenses). We do know that 43% of the yearly expenses, or about $32,000 per student per year, is spent on instruction. However, it is still unclear where the “Institutional Support” budget (15% increase) goes.

Future Work

Using only public documents, I was able to put together a hazy picture of Mudd’s finances. However, the most interesting information remains to be found inside of the “expenses” category, which would show how Mudd allocates its yearly spending. It appears that the Office of Financial Affairs is willing to speak with interested students in mid-May, so if anyone out there is interested in learning more about the budget, I would be extremely excited to see a more detailed report.

For More Information

Audited financial statements are available at hmc.edu/bao/financial-affairs. A copy of my Excel spreadsheet, which includes Mudd’s expenses for the four years available, a glossary of terms, and selected assets, liabilities and funding sources, is available at cs.hmc.edu/~jrogers.

 

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