Standard 7 – Finance
The financial goals of the college are to support quality educational opportunities to meet the intellectual, academic, career, personal, and developmental needs of our students and members of the community. The financial and business functions of the college are managed and led with the ideal of making this mission a reality through enhanced funding. Toward this end, the college has a sound financial base demonstrated by adequate college reserves, a budget that reflects our visions and strategic plan, and a record of audit reports with no major findings. The college's growth and development reflect sound financial planning guided by policies and decisions made by the college board of trustees and president. The financial and business functions of the college are under the leadership and responsibility of the vice president for Finance and Administration and a capable group of employees who manage fiscal operations, capital facilities planning and construction, physical plant, human resources, information technology, and auxiliary operations.
The college continues to rely on state funding and tuition as the major sources of operating funds. State operating support has increased by 19% per student FTE since 2003, and as a percent of total operating revenue has remained at a range of 36% to 39% from 2003 to 2007.
The college does not rely on revenue from auxiliary services to support general operations. Most of our auxiliaries (Dining and Food Service, Bookstore and Parking) rely on revenue from students or campus organizations supported by operating revenues. Increasing the revenues to these auxiliary enterprises would increase student's cost of attendance or have a negative impact on departmental operating expenditures.
An internal auditor was hired in December 2005 and reports directly to the president. She has recommended several improvements in areas such as cash handling and internal controls of fixed assets, which have been implemented. She will continue to perform audits on the entire financial operations and make recommendations.
The college purchased and implemented a major administrative software system from SCT Banner. The student system has been in place since 2004 and the finance module since 2005. This is a comprehensive administrative program designed for higher education and is used by hundreds of colleges and universities. We are in the process of searching for a new human resource/payroll system and budgeting system.These systems will be expensive and time consuming to implement, but are necessary for a comprehensive administrative system.
Fundraising has increased significantly over the past ten years. Overall giving has increased 141% during this period and net assets have grown from $1,673,000 in 1997 to $7,847,027 in 2007. A new vice president for Advancement was hired in 2006, and several vacant and new positions in Advancement were recently filled.
Standard 7.A – Financial Planning
7.A.1 Governing boards and, where applicable, state agencies have given the institution appropriate autonomy in financial planning and budgeting matters within overall mandates and priorities.
The college operates as part of a system of higher education institutions in the state of Washington coordinated by the Higher Education Coordinating Board. The governance of the college has been vested with the board of trustees as set forth in RCW 28B.40.120. Their general powers and duties include: full control of the college’s property; employment of the faculty and staff; and purchase of all goods and services necessary to conduct the business of the college, except as otherwise provided by law.
The president and senior staff along with the board of trustees establish a legislative agenda and budget request, which is then presented to the Office of Financial Management (the governor’s budget agency) for review, clarification, and inclusion into the governor's budget request. This legislative agenda, after consultation with the Office of Financial Management, is submitted to the legislature as part of the governor’s budget. The legislative agenda also includes capital funding and an enrollment plan with potential new enrollments for the college. The legislature establishes the college’s budgeted enrollment level and at this time controls the maximum allowable resident tuition increases.
7.A.2 The institution demonstrates that financial planning for the future is a strategically guided process. This planning includes a minimum of a three-year projection of major categories of income, specific plans for major categories of expenditures, and plans for the management of capital revenue and expenditures. Short and long-range capital budgets reflect the institution’s goals and objectives and relate to the plans for physical facilities and acquisition of equipment.
Financial planning for the college is directly tied to the college’s financial goals in the strategic plan. The “strategic directions” for the financial goals are to “diversify revenue streams” and “keep the growth of operating expenditures to sustainable levels." All major budget decisions are reviewed to ensure they are in alignment with the strategic plan.
Although the legislature funds new enrollment levels, state appropriations as a percent of total operating revenue have been slowly declining for several years. This decline has been offset by tuition and fee increases. To help keep tuition rates affordable, fundraising is identified as the main source of new revenue. Increased revenue from fundraising will be used for a variety of efforts including increasing student scholarships; funding faculty development and scholarly work; and course and curriculum improvements such as equipment procurement, outreach, and student service programs.
Goods and services expenditures are controlled by state and college policies that dictate procedures that result in getting quality products and services at the best possible price. One example of this is the recent state Smart Buy contract with a vendor for office supplies. Energy efficiency is addressed during new construction and other capital projects. Vacancies in existing staff positions and requests for new positions are evaluated before hiring is approved to achieve staff efficiencies.
The state has a two-year budget cycle which the college begins a year in advance. During this process the college prepares budgets for major revenue and expense categories based on expected enrollment levels and other program needs, including a capital budget. In the even numbered years, the legislature considers a supplemental budget.
The college’s physical resources are specifically addressed in the strategic plan’s support goals. The college has a ten-year capital construction plan which is updated every two years. Funding for capital projects comes from two main sources, the legislature and a portion of student fees. The college updated its campus master plan in 2008 based on the strategic plan and this will help guide future capital requests.
7.A.3 The institution publishes an annual budget distributed to appropriate constituencies, and the policies, guidelines, and processes for developing the budget are clearly defined and followed. Budget revisions are made promptly, and, when necessary, a revised budget or schedule of budget changes is developed and distributed to appropriate constituencies.
In the spring of each odd-numbered year, while the state legislature is approaching their final budget policy framework, Evergreen’s internal allocation process begins.
The Office of Operational Planning and Budget anticipates changes to our base funding levels such as state budget reductions (or enhancements), enrollment growth funding, and tuition or fee increases to establish an overall revenue policy framework.
The president and vice presidents discuss the implications of the anticipated revenue policy framework with the deans and directors to determine the budget themes that need to be addressed in the college’s allocation process. Normally, priorities will be consistent with those themes included in the college’s biennial budget request and may also include other priorities that have emerged since the college’s budget request was developed. It is at this stage that the president will decide if any college contingency strategies such as budget reductions or internal reallocation planning will be necessary.
The vice presidents are responsible for reviewing all budget decisions and modifications. The divisional budget coordinators, executive director of Operational Planning and Budget, and the director of Business Services will provide the necessary staff support for the vice presidents in this regard.
The vice presidents are responsible for 360-degree consultation while they are formulating an overall budget implementation strategy recommendation to the president. The executive director of Operational Planning and Budget will be responsible for core coordination activities and posting budget planning material on the college Web site.
The vice presidents will conduct divisional and campus-wide budget hearings to provide information regarding the college’s most pressing needs and how those needs translate into budget priorities. Included in this discussion is the relationship of the proposed actions outlined in the college long-range plans for both the operating and capital budgets. In setting budget priorities, the vice presidents consult with the faculty budget advisory committee, the student union and the campus community.
The president is responsible for finalizing a recommended budget to the board of trustees for their approval. The president’s proposal shall highlight any changes to the previously board-approved budget policy. The president will also identify modifications she/he made in the recommendations to the course of action recommended to her/him by the vice presidents.
The college publishes the president’s biennial operating and capital budget requests, which are available on the college’s Web site. See Legislature 101: A Guide to the Washington State Legislature and Budget 101: A Guide to Evergreen’s Budget, documents that were developed to inform the campus community about the various budget processes.
7.A.4 Debt for capital outlay purposes is periodically reviewed, carefully controlled, and justified,so as not to create an unreasonable drain on resources available for educational purposes. The institution has a governing board policy guiding the use and limit of debt.
Funding for most state-system capital projects is from three main sources (capital appropriations from the legislature, Timber Trust Fund earnings and a portion of student fees) and therefore no college debt is incurred. However, capital funding for auxiliary services such as housing, food services, and the bookstore, is provided through revenue bonds or capital lease agreements with the Office of the State Treasurer.
In 2006, the students voted to self-impose a fee to support a remodel and expansion of the College Activities Building. The revenue from this fee will used to repay bonds issued to accomplish the remodel.
The college carefully reviews any requests for auxiliary capital funding to ensure that resources are sufficient for repayment. The board of trustees authorizes the borrowing of money and the issuance and sale of revenue bonds and certain lease agreements. In 2006, the college issued Housing Revenue bonds in the amount of $7.5 million, with a current balance of $7.2 million. The bond proceeds were used to refund $1.4 million in existing bonds, and over $6 million is being used to renovate various buildings including roof replacement, elevator refurbishing, and furniture replacement. As of June 30, 2007, the college has capital lease agreements with the state treasurer’s office in the amount of $463,000 for some equipment purchases and renovation of the childcare facility.
Standard 7.B – Adequacy of Financial Resources
7.B.1 The institution provides evidence that it seeks and utilizes different sources of funds adequate to support its programs and services. The commitment of those resources among programs and services reflects appropriately the mission and goals and priorities of the institution.
Between state appropriations and tuition revenue, the college has a stable funding base. The college also receives funding from federal, state, and local grants, auxiliary funds, local dedicated funds, and fundraising.
For the past several years, the college has been able to carry forward more than $3.6 million in institutional operating reserve, or more than 5% of the operating budget. This flexibility has allowed the college to meet unforeseen demands and make better strategic decisions. For the last two biennia, the college has not allocated 100% of the operating revenue in order to plan and implement goals in the strategic plan, without reducing the quality of the academic programs or student services. In the 2007-09 operating budget, funding was approved to support strategic initiatives in sustainability and diversity.
The combined increases in state appropriations and tuition have not kept pace with inflation and other operating needs. The college continues to seek new revenue streams. An Extended Education program was initiated in 2005 and start-up funding was provided. This program will be reviewed in the fall of 2008 to determine if it should continue.
7.B.2 Adequate resources are available to meet debt service requirements of short-term and long-term indebtedness without adversely affecting the quality of educational programs. A minimum of three years’ history of the amount borrowed (whether internally or externally) for capital outlay and for operating funds is maintained. A five-year projection of future debt repayments is maintained.
The college’s resources are sufficient to meet its debt service requirements without negatively impacting operations. Evergreen keeps a minimum three-year history on funds borrowed and operating funds. A five-year projection of future debt service requirements is maintained and included in the notes to the annual financial statements.
7.B.3 Financial statements indicate a history of financial stability for the past five years. If an accumulated deficit has been recorded, a realistic plan to eliminate the deficit is approved by the governing board.
The financial condition of the college has been stable for the past five years and there have been no material deficits. Operating revenues are budgeted and divisions are not allowed to deficit spend. Other operations are required to plan and operate in a fiscally responsible manner. Some individual accounts have had deficits during some periods, and these are addressed by the manager, director, and vice-president responsible.
7.B.4 Transfers among the major funds and interfund borrowing are legal and guided by clearly stated policies in accordance with prudent financial planning and control.
Mandatory and non-mandatory transfers among funds are controlled and approved by the appropriate person. These transfers are included in the financial statements and in the operating budget requests. Budget transfers in the operating fund between divisions must be approved by the executive director of Operational Planning and Budget.
7.B.5 The institution demonstrates the adequacy of financial resources for the support of all of its offerings including specialized occupational, technical, and professional programs.
Evergreen allocates its resources to protect the academic programs and support the educational goals in the strategic plan. When the college receives legislative funding for enrollment growth and tuition increases, instructional costs are funded first at the same level as existing programs. The balance of these funds, combined with internal reallocations, savings from efficiencies, and other new revenue streams, is allocated to non-instructional areas for overhead, other growth-related costs, and a responsible contingency reserve. This reserve is available for funding new prioritized strategic initiatives, unknown contingencies such as union contract agreements, large one-time purchases, or unexpected increases in areas like utility costs. The budget and allocation processes establish a comprehensive practice for college leadership to employ when making decisions on effectively funding the educational goals of the institution.
7.B.6 The institution identifies the sources of its student financial aid for current enrollments and provides evidence of planning for future financial aid in light of projected enrollments. It monitors and controls the relationship between unfunded student financial aid and tuition revenues.
Evergreen’s student financial aid comes from three main sources, federal and state programs, The Evergreen State College Foundation scholarships, and institutional aid. Federal and state aid is defined by the various government programs, and foundation scholarships are governed by the fundraising efforts. Institutional aid, in the form of tuition waivers, was historically funded at 6% of tuition until 2007. In the 2007-09 budget request, the college asked for and received legislative approval to increase the funded waiver amount from 6% to 10% over the next five years. This will increase the amount of institutional waivers by 67%. For student recruitment and retention efforts, the college can and has allocated more than the 6% for tuition waivers with the approval of the board of trustees. Financial aid from state grants has increased over 35% from 2005 to 2007.
7.B.7 The institution maintains adequate financial reserves to meet fluctuations in operating revenue, expenses, and debt service.
To meet fluctuations in operating revenue, expenses, and debt service, Evergreen maintains a diversity of reserves. These reserves include:
- Funds available from the operating budget that are not fully allocated. These funds are usually set aside for new initiatives and unknown needs.
- Divisional and institutional operating reserves. These are allocated operating funds that are under-spent in one year and carried forward either by a division or the institution. These reserves have been in excess of $6 million for several years. They are usually used to support one-time or temporary requests.
- The college’s rainy day fund. This fund of approximately $1 million is funded from miscellaneous local income and is for emergency use only.
Some self-supporting units, like summer school, have substantial fund balances that are used to augment otherwise unfunded requests in academics and elsewhere.
In addition, the college is conservative in estimating tuition revenue in the event enrollment levels or the mix of resident and non-resident students is different than projected.
7.B.8 The institution demonstrates an understanding of the financial relationship between its education and general operations and its auxiliary enterprises and their respective contributions to the overall operations of the institution. This includes the institution’s recognition of whether it is dependent on auxiliary enterprise income to balance education and general operations or whether the institution has to use education and general operations income to balance auxiliary enterprises.
At Evergreen, auxiliary services are of unique value to the overall operations of the college. Evergreen is physically located in a rural area with little or no services within several miles, except for a few apartment units. Therefore, the services and products provided by auxiliaries such as dining, housing, parking, and the bookstore are not readily available from private retailers. It would be extremely inconvenient for the students, staff, and faculty if these services were not available on campus. This also means some services are provided even though they may not be financially viable.
Evergreen is not dependent on the income of its auxiliaries to financially support the operations of the college. All auxiliaries are charged for services provided them by operating units of the college. A schedule showing the ten-year profit/loss of the major auxiliaries is included in the exhibits (see Ten-Year Income History of Auxiliary Enterprises).
For several years, food services suffered significant losses. Beginning in 2004, steps were taken to improve the financial condition, including contracting with a new food service vendor, combining food services with the housing operation, and requiring all housing freshmen to purchase meal plans. These actions have greatly reduced the losses and may result in breaking even in 2008. The food service facility is slated for a complete renovation in 2009-11, which should have a significant positive impact on their financial success.
Housing has always been self-supporting. In 2006, Housing issued a $7.5 million bond to pay off the remaining balance of the previous bond issue, and perform some major renovations on its oldest buildings. It has met its bond obligations, developed a ten-year financial plan, and is building a reserve to continue capital improvements. In 2007, the operation posted a net profit exceeding $1 million.
The bookstore has been self-supporting over time, but has carried a negative fund balance since it first opened. For the past ten years it has had a total net profit of over $300,000, but it incurred losses for both 2006 and 2007. Most of the current decline is due to competition from online bookstores and a facility that is in need of a major renovation. The bookstore, located in the College Activities Building, is also planning a complete renovation in 2009-11. For a one- to two-year period, the bookstore will be in a temporary location, but will move back to a new facility which should have a positive impact on their profitability. Other efforts are being made to improve its financial picture including promoting Web sales and adding new services after the remodel.
Conference Services has been self-supporting, but in recent years it has been challenged with finding space on campus to hold conferences. This challenge was due to major remodeling of existing buildings, both general academic buildings and housing buildings. This challenge will continue as major renovations of most major campus buildings are planned for the next several years. Although Conference Services is not highly profitable, its operations create significant revenue for food services, housing, and other operations on campus. Because of changes made in 2006, this department did record a small profit in 2007, and this should improve for 2008.
Other auxiliaries such as Motor Pool and Duplicating Services are internal service functions that are self-sufficient but are not designed to provide direct financial support to the college.
Standard 7.C – Financial Management
7.C.1 The president reports regularly to the governing board about the financial adequacy and stability of the institution.
Quarterly, the president and vice president for Finance and Administration provide financial information to the board of trustees that includes standard year to date financial statements for the entire college, and specific financial information on operating budgets and expenditures to date, auxiliary financial reports, capital expenditures and local dedicated fund activity. The president informs the board about any concerns relating to the financial health of the college. In the fall the board receives a financial report for the year ending June 30. The college’s audited report is reviewed by the full board and at least one board member attends the audit exit meeting with the State Auditor’s Office.
7.C.2 Financial functions are centralized and are under a single qualified financial officer responsible to the president. Institutional business functions are under one or more qualified officers, are well organized, and function effectively. The complexity of the business organization reflects the size of the institution and the significance of its transactions.
The financial management of the college is the responsibility of the vice president for Finance and Administration. The director of Business Services, who reports to the vice president, is responsible for all day to day financial transactions and the centralized major financial functions including payroll, purchasing, reporting, investments, cashiering and general accounting. The executive director of Operational Planning and Budget, who reports directly to the president, is responsible for budget development and monitoring, and long-range planning. He consults with the budget coordinators located within each division and who report directly to the appropriate vice president. Qualified professionals occupy positions responsible for accounting functions and financial management.
7.C.3 All expenditures and income from whatever source, and the administration of scholarships, grants in aid, loans, and student employment, are fully controlled by the institution and are included in its regular planning, budgeting, accounting, and auditing procedures.
The college’s expenditures and income are recorded and coordinated through the college’s financial processes which are governed in their basic structure by the state. The state sets financial standards and policy through the Office of Financial Management. Financial information is input and reported via the SCT Banner system, a computerized software program used by Evergreen and other four-year institutions in the state. This system interfaces with the state government accounting system and meets accounting and auditing guidelines. The Banner system’s financial management reporting module includes control tables, general ledger accounting, accounts payable, purchasing, customer accounts, and cashiering. The annual college operating budget is input and processed through this system. The college has established organization codes to track and monitor financial activity within the departments of the college.
Each unit/department head is responsible for monitoring the budgets under their control. They have Web access to current data on their budget and expenditures to date. The budget coordinator for each division is responsible for monitoring all the budgets in their division. The budget coordinators and the executive director of Operational Planning and Budget meet regularly, and also meet quarterly with the vice presidents to review and discuss the budget. The vice presidents meet regularly with the president.
Historical financial information is readily available in the accounting system and is used to effectively prepare and budget for future years.
The administration and accounting of financial aid is administered jointly by the Financial Aid office and Business Services office. Financial Aid also uses an integrated Banner program that provides needs analysis, application tracking, award management, student loans, student employment monitoring, external reporting, and disbursement. The Financial Aid director has responsibility for the college’s financial aid programs.
7.C.4 The institution has clearly defined and implemented policies regarding cash management and investments which have been approved by the governing board.
The Office of Financial Management establishes the standards and guidelines for cash management and investments. The college’s investment policy provides additional guidelines. The director of Business Services and the accounting manager monitor the college’s investments. Investment options are very limited by Washington state law, resulting in a conservative and safe investment strategy. Decisions on investments are based on current market conditions, interest rates, and the long- and short-term cash needs of the college. The college manages its exposure to interest rate changes by limiting the duration of investments to no more than twelve months and structuring the maturity of investments to mature at various times in the year. Final approval for all investments is the responsibility of the vice president for Finance and Administration. The accounting supervisor, under the auspices of the director of Business Services, reviews all accounts and keeps the college cash management account in balance. The vice president of Finance and Administration is provided a monthly report on all college investments.
Most of the college’s endowment funds are invested with a private investment firm, and the balance of the college’s cash assets are invested in certificates of deposit or with the state’s Local Government Investment Pool. These are endowments held by the college, not the foundation.
7.C.5 The institution’s accounting system follows generally accepted principles of accounting.
The college maintains an accounting system that records all transactions to facilitate reporting in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The professional accounting staff is fully knowledgeable of accounting principles.
7.C.6 – 7.C.10
7.C.6: For independent institutions, the governing board is responsible for the selection of an auditing firm and receives the annual audit report.
7.C.7: Independent institutions are audited annually by an independent certified public accountant and the audit is conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. The audit includes a management letter. A summary of the latest audited financial statement is made available to the public.
7.C.8: A proprietary institution makes available annually a financial summary which includes, as a minimum, a list of company officers, a statement of profit and loss, expenditures, indebtedness, and companies which have a controlling interest in the institution.
7.C.9: If public institutions are, by law, audited by a state agency, an independent audit is not required except for any funds not subject to governmental audit.
7.C.10: All funds for financial aid and other specific programs not subject to governmental audit are audited annually by an independent certified public accountant and include a management letter.
The college is audited annually by the Washington State Auditor’s Office for compliance and financial statements. The audits are conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing principals, and all college funds are subject to the audit including financial aid and other specific programs. The audit is a combined process covering both federal and state funds. The college has had only one finding since 2003.
Since 2005, the audited financial statements have been available to the public on the college’s Web site. Prior to 2005, printed financial statements were available upon request.
7.C.11 The institution demonstrates a well-organized program of internal audit (where appropriate) and control that complements the accounting system and the external audit.
The college’s internal auditor, a qualified professional, reports directly to the president. The internal auditor has developed a comprehensive audit plan and has full access to all college financial records and transactions. The internal auditor meets regularly with the board of trustees to discuss the results of internal audits performed. The auditor also meet regularly with the vice president for Finance and Administration and the director of Business Services to discuss the results of audits and recommended corrections.
7.C.12 The institution demonstrates that recommendations in the auditor’s management letter accompanying the audit report have been adequately considered.
The college takes recommendations from the state auditor and the internal auditor very seriously and strives to correct any items of concern expressed in the audits. Audit results from the State Auditor’s Office are reviewed by the board of trustees and published in a statewide audit report.
7.C.13 Federal, state, external, and internal audit reports are made available for examination as part of any evaluation conducted by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Recent audits and other federal, state, and external reports are available for review (see 2007 Annual Report for College and Foundation).
Standard 7.D – Fund Raising and Development
As state funding for higher education and tuition increases have not kept pace with academic needs, it has become increasingly clear that private dollars will be essential for not only supporting students, but also to ensure the quality of public higher education.
The Evergreen State College Foundation was established by the college board of trustees in July of 1976 and is governed by Articles of Incorporation adopted that same year and by-laws which were most recently reviewed and significantly updated in the Spring of 2007. In 1988, the development office became a unit of the newly created College Advancement division. By policy adopted February 1, 1990, all campus fundraising is cleared through the Office of College Advancement.
Historically, the fundraising efforts of the college foundation have focused on providing financial assistance to students in the form of scholarships and activity grants, and increasingly in recent years, providing support for faculty development and research. Significant foundation and corporate grants have helped expand and deepen the work of several of the college’s public service centers, most notably the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center and the Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute.
In 2004, the college president secured the services of The Collins Group to review and assess the organizational structure of the College Advancement division and provide recommendations intended to move the operation to the next level. Significant recommendations included the need to more directly tie fundraising initiatives and long-term plans to the institutional strategic plan. Along with preparation for accreditation, this was a significant factor in the decision to launch the recent update to the college’s strategic plan. Other major recommendations of The Collins Group included the expansion and maturing of the Evergreen Annual Fund program, which provides significant dollars for scholarships and other critical college needs, the need to establish a major local fundraising event, and a number of organizational recommendations that would provide the level of fiscal and personnel resources necessary for the college to consider entering into a major fundraising campaign.
Subsequent to these recommendations, The Campbell Company was hired to help further enhance the Evergreen Annual Fund program. Working together, a three-year plan was developed to raise the level of giving and expand the number of alumni supporting the institution. In 2006, the first levels of recommendations were implemented and there was a remarkable 30% increase in the Evergreen Annual Fund, from $338,000 to $448,000. Normally a mature annual fund program will experience a 3% to 5% increase per year. The second level of recommendations was implemented in 2007 with another jump of more than 10%, raising the fund to nearly $485,000. The goal for 2008 is to raise a half million dollars in the Evergreen Annual Fund. Donations through January 2008 have put the foundation on track to exceed this goal by a substantial margin.
Through the efforts of our president, the college was successful in 2005 in receiving a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help in building its fundraising program. These funds have provided the ability to work with additional consultants to train and develop staff, expand and deepen the fundraising infrastructure, and fund additional staff for the effort. In addition the college itself, through its internal budget process, has provided significant new resources to College Advancement as a whole. These new infusions of funds have provided resources for not only fundraising staff, but also for marketing and college relations staff and programs. This assists the fundraising efforts by expanding the understanding and reputation of the college.
There have been significant changes to the staff in the past couple of years, both through turnover and through additional resources that added new staff positions. All of the leadership is relatively new. The vice president, having served for fifteen years as the executive associate to the president, stepped into the leadership of this effort in August of 2006. In the past year she has hired a director of development, director of alumni affairs, executive director of marketing and communications, alumni assistant, administrative assistant, two major gifts officers, and a new communications manager. While the staff is relatively new, it has already formed a closely knit and powerful team that collaborates well and understands how each of their areas can and must work together to assure a more stable financial future for the college and its students.
The board of governors itself has undergone intensive work in the past year to strengthen its ability to support fundraising efforts on behalf of the college. They have reviewed and revised many of their policies, reorganized the committee structure, and particularly strengthened committees for fundraising and development and evaluation of the board itself. In the summer of 2007, the board met in a two-day retreat for the first time concentrating on understanding the major college initiatives in need of fundraising in the coming year. That work was guided by the college’s updated strategic plan.
7.D.1 All college/university fundraising activities are governed by institutional policies, comply with governmental requirements, and are conducted in a professional and ethical manner.
College staff and members of the foundation board of governors engaged in fundraising efforts are guided by a variety of policies, procedures, and guidelines designed to ensure that fundraising is conducted in a professional and ethical manner. Board members annually sign a conflict of interest policy declaration. An independent private auditor is secured each year to ensure ongoing adherence to gift accounting standards, consistent reporting procedures, and avoidance of conflicts of interest on the part of members of the board of governors. In order to assure that board and staff members stay current with ethical standards, the college is affiliated with a number of profession fundraising associations. The college maintains an institutional membership in CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education), and individual staff memberships in AFP (Association of Fund Raising Professionals) and other local, regional, and national groups. All of these professional associations provide ethical guidance. AFP has developed standards that provide guidance around issues of professional competence and commitment, stewardship, charitable mission, privacy, cultural diversity, and conflicts of interest. The Standards of Professional Practice address issues involving civil and criminal laws, professional conduct, advocacy, compensation, and donor/prospect information.
New foundation board members attend an orientation session with staff and other board members at their first quarterly meeting. This orientation includes a review of ethical issues and considerations as well as information about legal and ethical requirements. Each board member has a Foundation Board Member Handbook covering these and other policies that is updated regularly. As part of the annual evaluation of staff and the board, the college continues to provide professional development opportunities that keep everyone current and mindful of ethical obligations.
The institutional development program is administered by the Office of College Advancement, which includes management of The Evergreen State College Foundation, development (including donor relations), development services and research, alumni affairs, marketing communications, and college relations. Academic grant development is administered through the academic grants office under the auspices of the Provost’s Office. The academic grants manager works closely with development officers in planning fundraising initiatives and identifying corporate and foundation prospects.
7.D.2 Endowment and life income funds and their investments are administered by an appropriate institutional officer, foundation, or committee designated by the governing board. The organization maintains complete records concerning these funds and complies with applicable legal requirements.
Management oversight of the foundation endowments is provided by the vice president for College Advancement, with day-to-day management, accounting, and record keeping of all foundation assets provided by the vice president for Finance and Administration who also serves as the assistant treasurer for the foundation. The foundation signed an agreement with the University of Washington in 2003 to pool the foundation’s funds with the University of Washington’s Consolidated Endowment Fund. The foundation’s investment committee reviews the health of endowments on a monthly basis and the vice president for Finance and Administration manages the pooling of any unrestricted cash balances.
Through the foundation's work, the college's students, faculty, and staff now receive financial assistance from a wide range of endowment funds. Current funds are divided between those funds held by the foundation and those held by the college. The college endowments are funds raised through the foundation but matched through state matching programs. By statute those funds are then held by the college and invested according to state rules and not under control of the foundation. These funds have increased substantially since our last accreditation report.
NOTE*: Foundation endowment amounts include other temporarily restricted funds.
The foundation agreement with the University of Washington has dramatically increased the earnings potential for those endowments.
|Total Giving||1996-97||2001-02||2006-07||1997–2007 Difference|
|Dollars raised from all sources||$778,678||$1,038,807||1,874,508||141%|
|Number of donors||4,351||3,232||4,199||-3%|
|Average gift amount||$179||$321||$446||149%|
|Number of Alumni Donors||2,395||1,627||2,418||1%|
|Percentage of Alumni Donors||13%||5%||8%||-37%|
|Evergreen Annual Fund||1996-97||2001-02||2006-07||1997–2007 Difference|
|Number of Donors||3,184||2,391||3,522||11%|
7.D.3 The institution has a clearly defined relationship with any foundation bearing its name or which has as its major purpose the raising of funds for the institution.
The foundation is subject to rules and regulations of the IRS as a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) “public” charity, and to regulations of the state of Washington governing non-profit organizations, as specified in chapter 24.03 RCW. According to its bylaws, the foundation operates “exclusively for the purposes of promoting, supporting, maintaining, developing, increasing and extending educational offerings and the pursuit thereof at or in connection with The Evergreen State College…” The relationship between the foundation and the college is established through a contract signed by both boards, which follows the state attorney general’s model for foundations affiliated with public institutions of higher education. That contract provides for state support of staff and provisions of resources – including offices – in exchange for dollars raised to support the institution and its students. The contract is reviewed and renewed every three years.
The College Advancement division serves as the principal liaison with The Evergreen State College Foundation. The executive director of the foundation is also the vice president for the division of College Advancement. In addition to the executive director, ex-officio members of the foundation board of governors include a member of the board of trustees, the college president, and the vice president for Finance and Administration.
The college and the foundation work together to insure that fundraising activities by different college groups are coordinated, and the external community sees any solicitation of funds as coming from a single entity. The foundation works closely with the college community to determine what fundraising and development activities would best serve the needs of the college.
For example, in FY 2008 the Development office is focused on a concise list of projects ranging from media equipment for a new campus facility to endowments for scholarships and visiting scholars. Conversations are underway with the board of governors to respond to the ever-increasing need for student financial assistance.
The college faces several funding challenges in the coming years. State appropriations do not include increases to cover inflation or meet the increasing demands for accountability to the public. Furthermore, the state will most likely be facing economic challenges that could result in reduced funding for higher education for both operating and capital construction.
Students are being asked to pay an increasing share of their cost of attendance, putting higher education out of the reach of some students. In response, the college has increased tuition discounting in order to attract students to meet our enrollment goals.
The college is experiencing a shift to more high school direct students, placing additional pressures on student services such as campus housing and academic support services. Recent increases in state funding have been in areas of high demand enrollment, which usually have higher operating costs.
In recent years, the college has limited increases in non-resident and graduate-level tuition rates because the overall cost of attendance for these groups had started to exceed the total cost of attendance at comparable institutions. Because the college receives about three times the tuition revenue from non-resident students as resident students, it is important to maintain a stable number of non-resident students. To achieve this balance, the college has had to increase the recruitment effort in these areas and offer more tuition discounts.
Standard 7 - Findings and Conclusions
1.) The college has a sound financial base demonstrated by adequate college reserves, a budget that reflects our vision and strategic plan, and a record of external auditor reports with no major findings.
2.) The college’s financial planning is tied to the college’s financial goals in the strategic plan. These goals are to “diversify revenue streams” and “keep the growth of operating expenditures to sustainable levels.” The president and the board of trustees provide the sound financial planning embodied in the college’s decisions and policies.
3.) The college relies on state funding and tuition revenues to provide a stable base of funding for the institution.
4.) The combined increases in state appropriations and tuition have not kept pace with inflation and other operating needs. However, the college does not rely on revenue from auxiliary services to support general operations because most auxiliaries (e.g., the bookstore, parking, or housing services) rely on revenue from students or campus organizations, and increasing revenues to auxiliaries would increase students' cost of attendance or hurt operating budgets.
5.) The college has purchased and implemented the SCT Banner Student and Finance administrative software modules, resulting in improved student and financial services.
6.) The changes in the College Advancement division has helped the college to significantly increase fundraising over the last few years.
7.) Because state funding for higher education has not kept pace with academic needs, the college must find private dollars for supporting students and ensuring the quality of public education.
1.) The college faces several funding challenges in the coming years. State appropriations do not include increases to cover inflation or meet the increasing demands for accountability to the public. Higher education will be competing with K-12, prisons, and services for the elderly for limited state funding that could result in reduced funding for both operating and capital construction.
2.) Students are being asked to pay an increasing share of their cost of attendance, putting higher education out of the reach of some students. In response, the college has increased tuition discounting in order to attract students to meet our enrollment goals.
3.) The college is experiencing a shift to more high school direct students, placing additional pressures on student services such as campus housing and academic support services. Recent increases in state funding have been in areas of high demand enrollment, which usually have higher operating costs.
4.) In recent years, the college has limited increases in non-resident and graduate-level tuition rates because the overall cost of attendance for these groups had started to exceed the total cost of attendance at comparable institutions. Because the college receives about three times the tuition revenue from non-resident students as resident students, it is important to maintain a stable number of non-resident students. To achieve this balance, the college has had to increase the recruitment effort in these areas and offer more tuition discounts.
5.) Efforts to sustain and grow the breadth and depth of fundraising will be essential to the college’s capacity to support students and faculty innovation in the years ahead.
1.) The college has developed substantial reserve funds to help meet contingencies, thus helping to insure stability in campus operations.
2.) The college has improved administrative software and better integrated financial services.
3.) The college has recently made significant strides in fundraising, supporting student and faculty opportunities for study, program development, and research.
4.) The hiring of an internal auditor has helped improve internal controls and procedures.
1.) The college needs to complete the improvement of its internal administrative systems by acquiring human resource and budgeting software.
2.) The college should continue to work on developing broad and deep fundraising efforts to help diversify revenue to support teaching and learning.
3.) The college needs to continue to improve auxiliary enterprises so they are all self-supporting.
1.) In keeping with the strategic plan, continued efforts to improve fundraising and to increase revenues in auxiliary services are critical components in the financial goal of the strategic plan. The college is currently making plans and creating outcome measures to assess work in this area.
2.) Improvements in internal administrative systems in human resources and budgeting are elements of the college’s upcoming budget requests to the legislature.