Audit: QU’s endowment, revenue grew during 2020-21 fiscal year

Chatwan Mongkol, Digital News Editor

Quinnipiac University’s annual independent financial audit shows a slight increase in revenue, steady spending, significant investment gain and $2.6 million worth of pension and retirement benefits for an undisclosed employee during the pandemic fiscal year July 2020-21.

The university ended fiscal 2020-21 with $348 million in revenue, a 3.5% increase from $337 million last year. However, it remained less than the pre-pandemic earnings.

Most of last year’s bump came from housing and meal plan fees, which the university was able to collect more of in the fall 2021 semester after it shut down residence halls and had to reimburse related costs in the spring 2020 semester due to COVID-19.

Peyton McKenzie

Spending remained consistent with fiscal 2019-20 at $309 million, suggesting it was still in a downward trend, which was a 7.4% decrease from the pre-pandemic spending.

When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, travel expenses saw a significant decrease as study abroad programs were suspended, and many conferences happened virtually. The costs for travel and events continued to decrease throughout the 2020 fiscal year.

As of now, all semester-long study abroad programs have resumed at full capacity after a nearly two-year hiatus.

When it comes to employee’s salaries, compensation-related expenses totaled $182 million, down 2.9% from the previous year. The decrease was an effect of buyouts, layoffs, furloughs, hiring freeze and lack of pay raises in 2020.

The undisclosed employee who received the pension and retirement benefits also obtained $2.7 million worth of similar benefits a year prior.

The university did not provide The Chronicle with any additional information beyond what was reported in the audit, including who the said employee was.

More details on the year’s 10 highest-paid employees are expected to be released in May after the university files its annual 990 filing for the fiscal year.

One of the major positive outcomes for Quinnipiac in 2020 was a 40.4% investment gain after it suffered a 0.5% loss in 2019. The university ended the year with $824 million in a combination of stocks, fixed income securities, money market funds, mutual funds, private equity funds and alternative investments, up from $587 million two years ago.

In relation to the investment gain, the university’s endowment grew to $785 million in 2020, a 45.6% jump from 2019.

Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan attributed the growth largely to “market performance and the sound fiscal management funds by our portfolio manager.”

President Judy Olian said in March 2021 that Quinnipiac used 4-5% of the endowment in 2019-21 and that the university planned to spend close to $50 million in 2022-23, mainly on capital projects improvements.

The funding for the recently announced $244 million South Quad project will come partly from the endowment, other philanthropic efforts and debt financing.