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Town Hall Focuses On Finances

Zach Borowiak

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Saint Louis University currently has a $980 million endowment fund. This is an increase from $140 million in 1987, when Lawrence Biondi, S.J., became University President. This fact and several others, concerning the University’s financial status, were discussed at a town hall meeting last Thursday, in the Argentum room in the Busch Memorial Center. Eight students attended.

At the top of the evening’s issues was the $2 million surplus. This surplus, according to Altholz, is actually about $1 million. This million is to be used as a contingency fund next year for unforeseen expenses as well as a gas price increase which is expected.

The extra cash may prove useful next year and further, due to the fact that the University budget is structured to break even every year.

Regarding the endowment, the University uses about five percent of those funds due to the fact that much of the endowment has restrictions surrounding it.

This means that the money given to the school can only be used on certain programs, projects or scholarships. However this money does not sit in idle.

The University has received about a 13.3 percent return over the last 17 years in its investment of the endowment. The University’s investment committee is currently looking at the possibility of increasing the amount of funds invested in alternative products. The committee uses investment managers, such as Morgan Stanley, to assist it in its planning.

SLU’s endowment currently ranks third among Jesuit Universities. Notre Dame is first and Boston College is second.

The school also received about $25 million from the federal government in block grants. “The main purpose is for research related to that grant,” said Altholz.

Tuition was another topic discussed at the meeting. Eighty percent of this money currently goes to faculty and staff salaries, while the remaining 20 percent is used on “administrative expenses,” explained Altholz.

It was explained that tuition increases are implemented because it is a good economy. If raises are not given in these times, staff members may look to other employers. The school has a need to keep up with the job market and the high competition of that market today.

The “administrative expenses,” which make up 20 percent of the tuition budget, goes towards keeping the campus presentable. “This does not go towards palm trees,” said Altholz.

The group representing the school at the town hall meeting emphasized that in no way is this 20 percent a luxury tax, when the question was brought up. “We had to take control of our environment,” said Director of Planning and Budgets Dan Hitchell. “Other urban campuses, such as Marquette, have made efforts similar to what we have done and have not been as successful.”

An announcement is expected to be made in early December concerning a tuition increase.

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The Student News Site of Saint Louis University
Town Hall Focuses On Finances