Employ bold approaches to ensure DePaul’s continued fiscal strength for future generations
A sustainable financial foundation is necessary for DePaul’s realization of its mission and educational aspirations. As a highly tuition-dependent institution, the university must achieve enrollment and tuition revenue goals in a competitive environment where affordability and value for students are paramount. It also requires a sharpened focus on the profitability of our portfolio of programs and the prioritization of our purposes. We will work diligently to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, remain an employer of choice, reallocate resources in light of strategic priorities, and reduce tuition dependence by building our endowment and increasing philanthropic support.
DePaul moves toward financial sustainability for the long term
Student enrollment—more specifically tuition and fees—generated slightly more than 81% of DePaul's total revenues in fiscal year 2018-19, making student recruitment and retention the primary driver of the university's financial inflows, a trait most private universities share.
Changing demographics, particularly with respect to high school graduates, mean DePaul needs to change, too. By late fall 2018, DePaul had hired a set of new regional recruiters in Texas, Northern California and on the East Coast, complementing a recruiter in Southern California who has been recruiting students to DePaul since 2017. These new staff members will help the university engage with high school graduates from states that have projected growth or significantly larger pools of high school graduates than Illinois, which is projected to decline by 15,700 high school graduates annually through 2031-32.
University Headcount Enrollment Trends
Source: IRMA Fact File. Budgeted Enrollment comes from IRMA's Online Enrollment-Revenue Report.
Here, We Do
Complementing updated enrollment strategies was a new brand advertising campaign that launched in spring 2018, DePaul's first such campaign in seven years. It was designed to differentiate DePaul, and emphasize connections to Chicago and the many ways DePaul integrates the city into the student experience. Based on third-party survey data, the campaign proved to be quite successful in raising awareness and positive perceptions about DePaul with Chicago business and community influencers as well as prospective graduate students.
Source: Annual Operating Budget Reports (Financial Affairs). Values are reported for the fiscal year end.
The value of DePaul's endowment has been trending upward in recent years. As of June 30, 2019, it had reached $697 million, a dramatic increase over the past six years, from a market value of $447 million in 2013-14. Growing the endowment is critically important to ensure DePaul has the financial resources that are appropriate for a university of our size and credit. Achieving our endowment goal of $1 billion involves multiple strategies, including raising financial gifts, positive market returns, contributing a percentage of annual operating surpluses, and a return-to-principal policy.
Fundraising is another element vital to DePaul's financial strength. Advancement raised $26.5 million during academic year 2018-19, the largest annual fundraising total in the past four years, to underwrite student scholarships, faculty development, academic programs, facilities and investment in our mission. As the amount raised has been trending upward, the number of donors has been trending downward, meaning DePaul is receiving larger gifts from fewer donors.
Overall, DePaul is making progress on its key financial objectives, which will help ensure this generation of leaders leaves the next generation a strong foundation for the future.