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WACO, Texas (November 4, 2022) – At its regular quarterly meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents focused its discussion on Baylor’s position in the higher education market, highlighted by strong financial reports on the improving bond ratings and positive investment returns amid strong demand for Baylor experience and education.
On Monday, Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research, announced that it has upgraded Baylor’s long-term bond ratings to “AA-“ of “A+” with a stable outlook. The ratings agency attributed the upgrade to “Baylor’s strong financial and liquidity position, driven by strong cash flow trends and above-budget results in recent years through fiscal year 2022”. The ratings agency also noted the impact of the University’s strong student demand profile, with successful fundraising with Baylor surpassing its initial $1.1 billion. give light campaign goal last February and its positive staffing performance.
Moreover, a recent analysis of business journals early financial filings from 16 private universities showed that 14 institutions – including Harvard, Columbia and Johns Hopkins – reported investment losses in their endowment portfolios in fiscal year 2022. However, Baylor – with its gain investment of $174 million last year – and Macalester College were the only two institutions rated by business journals to generate a positive return on investment in what the publication describes as the “worst performance year on record for college and university endowments.” Baylor also joined the University of Pennsylvania and Assumption College as the only analytics schools to report endowment growth in fiscal year 2022.
The Board also heard a year-end financial report highlighted by total assets reaching $3.9 billion, operating revenues totaling $925.1 million and reported operating expenses of $836.5 million. of dollars.
“This encouraging financial outlook underscores Baylor’s strength and resilience as we grow as a preeminent Christian Research 1 university and a trusted national brand in higher education,” said President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph. D. “As good stewards of all that we have been blessed with, it is gratifying to see others recognize the impact of Baylor’s R1 designation and our continued development of the five signature initiatives within our enlighten strategic plan for sponsored research activities and hiring of professors. At the same time, we are seeing more demand than ever for a Baylor education as students seek an excellent academic experience at a mid-sized Christian research university and participating in Power 5 athletics. Baylor University and why Baylor is more of a national brand than at any point in its history.
During his two-day meeting, Regents participated in a strategic business discussion about the University Strategic enrollment management (SEM) and its position and pricing in the higher education market. SEM lays the foundation for enrollment management for the next five years, which will focus on diversifying Baylor’s student enrollment mix, increasing affordability, and improving retention and graduation while remaining true to Baylor’s distinctively Christian mission.
The discussion also included the latest data on student demand for a Baylor experience and education, which is at an all-time high:
- Over 50,000 applications for the Fall 2022 class, with an 18% increase in completed applications exceeding 40,000;
- 47% of the fall 2022 freshman class from out of state, demonstrating the strengthening of Baylor’s global and national brand;
- Continuous increase in the academic caliber of students, based on the ranking of secondary school classes and related courses and the results of submitted tests;
- Highest ranking of undergraduate university programs in US News and World Report, including No. 8 in entrepreneurship, No. 10 in the first year of experience, No. 16 in learning communities; No. 16 for Best Undergraduate Teaching; #20 for Most Innovative Schools; No. 21 for undergraduate research/creative projects; and No. 46 for Best Colleges for Veterans; and
- Top 10 Most Trusted Universitiesaccording to global research firm Morning Consult in its Most Trusted Brands project, and #2 among the most trusted universities in parent ratings, behind Princeton and ahead of Duke, Notre Dame and Yale.
As part of a Council trade action, Regents approved $78.6 million for Phase 2 of the construction of the Fudge Football Development Center which will house the day-to-day operations of Baylor’s football coaches and support staff and provide a distinct experience for Baylor’s student-athletes. The total budget for the project, including Phase 1 design and early construction work that began over the summer, is $89.6 million. The installation is expected to be completed in the spring of 2024.
The Fudge Center will connect to the Allison Indoor Practice Center, expanding the indoor turf pitch from 80 yards to 100 yards and creating more than 100,000 square feet of new space for the Baylor football program. The state-of-the-art facility will include offices for coaches, equipment staff, medical coaches and a student-athlete locker room, as well as a medical training room, equipment distribution room, strength and conditioning and a large team meeting room.
The addition of the Fudge Center will enhance the adjacent Simpson Athletics and Academic Center – home to Baylor’s 19 athletic programs and more than 525 student-athletes – by expanding the space available for academic counseling and support, mental health services , physiotherapy and wellness programming. It also allows for the physical expansion of the Student-Athlete Center of Excellence (SACE), including a location for the Student-Athlete Chapel and expanded character building and spiritual growth programming.
The Regents approved two items from the Baylor Endowment Investment Committee (BEIC), including approving changes to the investment policy allocation ranges and an addition to the Endowment Investment Policy that authorizes BEIC to create sub-committees.
Regents also heard a summary of the Governance Review Task Force, chaired by former Board Chairman Jerry Clements, JD ’81 (2018). The task force reviewed recommendations from a similar group in 2017 and reviewed the current operations of the Council. Other members of the task force included former regent Bob Beauchamp, David Brooks, Thasunda Brown Duckett, Jon Foster and current regent Todd Patterson.
“I appreciate the selfless work of the members of the Governance Review Task Force who contributed their valuable time, considerable expertise and keen sense of governance to this process. Their independent review demonstrates our Board’s commitment to best practices and continuous improvement,” said Board Chairman Mark Rountree, BBA ’86, MTA ’87. “Baylor is unique as an R1 institution that remains true to our historic Christian mission while valuing the highest levels of research and scholarship. This vision is compelling to students and families across the country and the world, and the board remains focused on securing Baylor’s future and its unwavering mission.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked 1 research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by combining interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Established in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continuously operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a wide range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.