From the CFO, Vice President and Treasurer
Donald L. Myers
Walking the grounds of American University this past year, one cannot help but notice the vibrant atmosphere on campus. All around, there are reminders of the university’s distinguished past, the excitement of current activities, and the anticipation of dramatic new enhancements to come. Our many years of prudent financial management, disciplined investment, and continued strong financial position (as shown on the following pages) have allowed us to embark on the most ambitious and largest capital expansion in the university’s history.
This past year already has seen the successful completion of a number of capital projects. Cassell Hall, our new on-campus residence hall, and the Nebraska Hall addition were both completed in time for students to move in for the fall 2013 semester, providing 510 new beds in a combination of apartment and suite-style accommodations. We also completed the renovation of our newly acquired seven-story building at 4401 Connecticut Avenue NW as the new home of WAMU 88.5 FM, the public radio news and information station licensed to AU. Construction also is under way on the new Washington College of Law facility on the eight-acre Tenley Campus, with an expected completion date of summer 2015.
The university’s financial position has never been stronger. Total assets now stand at $1.4 billion, a 52 percent increase in just four years, and net assets have increased 60 percent to $876 million during the same period. Our operating margins remain strong, and our use of debt is both measured and strategic.
American University’s national and international reputation resulted in more than 17,000 applications for the Class of 2017, and the demographics are shifting. In this new class, almost 30 percent come from the southern and western states, 11 percent are first generation, and 30 percent are minority. The average GPA is 3.74, up from 3.40 only 10 years ago. Our percentage of international undergraduates is climbing to almost 11 percent, reflecting our global span.
We welcomed 80 new faculty of outstanding quality to campus this fall, including 23 tenured or tenure-track professors. Their research, scholarship, and varied academic interests are all quite remarkable and indicative of the high-quality academic focus of American University.
AU also has joined the ranks of other top universities in exploring the benefits of online education by entering into two partnerships to deliver high-quality graduate programs. With the newest technology and delivery platforms, we are able to deliver superior instruction and collaboration on a global scale, thus opening new markets for these programs.
We continue to focus on controlling college costs and ensuring affordability. By limiting the rise in tuition and increasing financial aid dollars for the next two years, AU is working to help students reduce debt levels. For the second consecutive year, the average debt of AU graduates with loans declined from the previous year. The loan default rate of AU graduates is very low (2.8 percent) compared with the national average (13.4 percent), and 45 percent of AU graduates have no loan debt at graduation.
Tremendous progress has been made this past year, but much more work lies ahead. I am proud that we are able to contribute to the “cornerstones of success” that are inherent to a world-class university.
Donald L. Myers