Quinnipiac finances rebound after pandemic, form-990 shows

Katie Langley, News Editor

In a 990 tax filing form obtained by the Chronicle, Quinnipiac University showed financial gains in the period from July 2020-June 2021. President Judy Olian’s salary topped over $1 million in fiscal year 2020-21 as Quinnipiac’s endowment increased by over $200 million from the previous period.

The fiscal period began July 1, 2020, and ended June 30, 2021, according to the university’s form-990, which the Chronicle received by request from Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan. 

Form-990 details returns of organizations exempt from income tax, or nonprofit organizations, such as universities. Quinnipiac is listed as a nonprofit under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

The university endowment was valued at $753,870,095 in FY 2020-21, an over 38% increase from the previous fiscal period, which was reported at over $545 million, according to the form-990.

In context, Fairfield’s Sacred Heart University, which, like Quinnipiac, is a private university with approximately 6,000 undergraduate students enrolled, has an endowment of about $247 million, according to Sacred Heart’s 2020-21 form-990.

Yale University, located about 10 miles from Quinnipiac’s Mount Carmel Campus, has the second largest endowment in the country at $41.4 billion, according to the Yale Daily News. However, Yale has a larger undergraduate population than Quinnipiac and holds Ivy League status.

Morgan said in an email to the Chronicle Nov. 28, that the roughly $200 million increase in endowment was thanks to “37% investment gains due to favorable market conditions” during the fiscal period.

Gains from contributions increased by over 15.2% in FY 2020-21 and earnings from investments increased by over 46.7% in the same year. The university reported a loss of over $4 million in investments in the previous fiscal year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, the university disclosed more than $531 million in revenue at the end of FY 2020-21 and an over $45 million profit in the same year, putting profits up about 45% from FY 2019-2020, which were around $31 million.

Expenses also saw an increase of about $18 million in FY 2020-21 as compared to the previous period.

A June 2021 independent financial audit of the university showed that pandemic spending has been lower compared to pre-pandemic spending, the Chronicle reported in April 2022, partially due to a pause on travel and study abroad programs as well as a hiring freeze and pay reduction in 2020. Travel expenses remained slightly lower in FY 2020-21 than in FY 2019-20. However, FY 2020-21 appeared to have cost the university even more than FY 2018-19, reflecting a return to pre-pandemic conditions.

Among the expenses that increased for the university in FY 2020-21 were grants and assistance for domestic students. Foreign individuals, governments and organizations received about $1.6 million less from the university in FY 2021-21 than in 2019-20.

Olian remained the highest-paid university employee in calendar year 2020, earning a total of $1,023,183. Unlike other amounts reported in the form-990, salaries are measured by calendar year, not fiscal year.

The Chronicle reported in June 2020 that Olian voluntarily took a 20% cut in her salary for the 2020-21 school year to assist in budget savings.

In 2020, Olian’s base compensation decreased by about 16%, but it increased in bonuses and incentives, retirement compensation, nontaxable benefits and other reportable compensation. In total, Olian’s salary only decreased by about 0.055% in 2020 from the previous year.

Morgan declined to comment on if the 20% pay cut has ended as of publication.

“We do not comment on compensation beyond the required disclosures per form-990,” Morgan wrote in an email statement to the Chronicle Nov. 28.

  • After Olian, the next seven highest paid Quinnipiac employees in 2020-21 were as follows:
  • Head Men’s Basketball Coach Baker Dunleavy ($749,728)
  • Men’s Hockey Coach Rand Pecknold ($615,652)
  • Dean of the School of Medicine Bruce Koeppen ($588,010)
  • Chief Financial Officer Mark Varholak ($574,791)
  • Head Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Fabbri ($421,768)
  • Vice President for Facilities and Capital Planning Sal Filardi ($411,029)
  • Former President Emeritus John Lahey ($312,155)

The total of salaries, other compensation and employee benefits the university paid to employees in FY 2020-21, according to the form-990, was almost $182 million, a decrease of about $5 million from the previous year.

The FY 2020-21 form-990 is not yet available online due to delays in IRS processing of nonprofit filings, Morgan wrote. 

CORRECTION 11/30: A previous version of this story said all employees took a 20% pay reduction in the 2020-21 school year.