Financial Report Highlights Need for Catholic Colleges to Raise Endowments

Article excerpt

Compared to their non-Catholic peer institutions, Catholic colleges have larger enrollments and lower tuition rates, but they also generally have low endowments, which forces them to be highly tuition-dependent.

Therefore, Catholic colleges can't afford to steer away from fundraising, concludes Moody's Investors Service in a report, "Spotlight on U.S. Catholic Higher Education Sector," issued last month.

Moody's, which provides credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities, focused on 55 Catholic colleges that are included in the group's rating service.

Richard Yanikoski, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, said the report, available online at www.aectmet.org, showed that Catholic colleges "offer a strong investment opportunity" and they do so "not just in spite of our mission but because of our mission."

He said the report highlights positive aspects of Catholic higher education including the fact that their annual net tuition is about $2,400 less than it is at non-Catholic colleges. But even that good news also has a flip side, he noted; it means the Catholic institutions have "less money from each student to do the good work they need to do."

According to the report, the consistently lower tuition rates at Catholic colleges "reflect the Catholic higher education sector's mission of providing students affordable access to a college degree, including offering a lower sticker price for those middle-income students that cannot qualify for financial aid programs. …