Budget Deficit at Cornell

Running a University is not cheap.

Case in point, by far the largest expense remains wages, pensions and benefits for Cornell’s nearly 18,000 employees, amounting to $2.9 billion and 64.8 percent of its budget.

Although Cornell’s position as a non-profit anchored by an over $7 billion endowment means that it does not face the same pressures to run a surplus as companies of a similar size — the deficit still prompted the University’s top accountant to call for finding new avenues of growth and cost-cutting.

Cornell Bleeds Red Ink in Latest Financial Report With Operating Losses of $104 Million, The Cornell Daily Sun

How much does the endowment support the school’s operating budget?

But according to Joanne DeStefano, Cornell’s Chief Financial Officer, the University’s mixed investment track record as it undergoes strategic changes may pose less of a concern than it would for other peer universities. In 2018, only 8 percent of the University’s revenue came from funds distributed from its endowment, while at Harvard, that figure was 35 percent.

“Operating costs at Cornell are less dependent on endowment payout than at other highly endowed institutions,” DeStefano wrote in Cornell’s most recently published annual financial statement report, attributing it to the University’s strong “revenue diversity.”

Cornell Endowment Posts 5.3% Return, Trailing Most Ivy League Colleges, The Cornell Daily Sun

Read more about Cornell’s endowment and finances here.

How Do Cornell’s Finances Work? A Layman’s Guide Is Coming Soon, The Cornell Daily Sun

Cornell, Penn State Endowments Return 5.3%, 7.7% for Fiscal 2019, Chief Investment Officer

Lyon Hall behind the trees at Cornell.
Twitter @Cornell

Post by Marcelino Pantoja