Cash clarity: What is happening with Goucher’s budget

By: Samantha Cooper

Budgets and debt are not only a concern of  college students, they are a concern of colleges themselves. That, of course, includes Goucher. In order to inform students about how the school spends its money, an information session was arranged for students to attend. Malcolm Green-Hayes, Goucher’s Director of Budget and Finance led the meeting. The Goucher Eye was also able to interview Green-Hayes afterwards to clarify some things.

At Goucher College, there are two different budgets, each draws its money from different resources and each covers different costs.

The capital budget used for maintenance or the purchase of fixed of fixed assets including products with a very long shelf life such as buildings, vehicles, equipment and land.

The construction occurring on campus makes up  entirety of the capital budget for the up-coming fiscal year. For the 2018 fiscal year, the capital budget amounts to $36.1 million. For the 2017 fiscal year, the capital budget was around $17 million

The majority of this year’s budget ($28 million) will go towards building two additions to the First Year Village. The Mary Fisher renovation will cost about $23 million, the additions to Hoffberger will be about $27 million and the Froelicher move will cost about $8 million.

The capital construction plan is the projected budget for construction from 2017-2022. This maps out the price for each construction project. The project covers the construction of the two remaining buildings of the First Year Village, Mary Fisher Dining Hall, the moving of Froelicher Hall and the Hoffberger addition. The current total budget for the project comes out to $88 million.

The funds for the capital budget are covered by multiple sources: debt and philanthropic giving, mostly fundraising or donations.

During the discussion, he emphasized that no money would be taken from student tuition and fees in order to pay for the construction. Instead, much of the money from the construction would come from debt, $30 million to be exact. The remaining amount, which Green-Hayes said was $58 million, would be paid off with financial gifts.

The second budget is the operating budget, which pays for everything that the capital budget does not including faculty salaries and benefits, equipment for lab spaces, materials and supplies. The operating budget comes mostly from the fees and tuition that Goucher students pay to attend the school.

For 2018, fiscal year the budget comes to $67 million. The majority of that money (70%) will come from tuition and fees. The rest is covered by renting out space to off-campus groups or money from the state.

During an interview with The Goucher Eye, Green-Hayes discussed that it was impossible to continue or begin the construction without going into debt, as the construction would otherwise take up one-third of the college’s operating budget which would result in massive lay-offs.

Previously, Goucher borrowed $24 million to renovate Julia Rogers, and the loan was given on Goucher’s ability to fundraise the money to pay back the loan. Goucher is still working to get the money through donations.Goucher also owes money on other construction projects, including the construction of the Athenaeum.

Goucher now owes a total of $86 million in debt. The debt repayment is on a 26 year plan. To help pay this debt, Goucher has re-financed $60 million, because they were not getting the financial gifts that they had expected.

“Debt is an essential element to any institution,” he said. He also said, “Can you afford the debt that you’re currently taking on? For Goucher, the answer is ‘yes.’”

According to Green-Hayes, Goucher is in a relatively good position compared to other small, private, liberal arts colleges and would like students to know that.

(Image Credit: Google Images)

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