Baylor Regents Receive Strong Financial and Investment Reports, Discuss Strategic Enrollment Management Plan and Approve $89.6 Million Total Budget for Fudge Football Development Center
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WACO, Texas (Nov. 4, 2022) – At its regular quarterly meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents focused its discussion on Baylor’s position in the higher education marketplace, highlighted by strong financial reports about upgraded bond ratings and positive investment returns amid continued strong demand for a Baylor experience and education.
On Monday, Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research, announced it had upgraded Baylor’s long-term bond ratings to “AA-” from “A+” with a stable outlook. The ratings agency attributed the upgrade to “Baylor’s strong financial and liquidity position, via solid cash flow trends and better-than-budget results in recent fiscal years through fiscal 2022.” The ratings agency also noted the impact of the University’s strong student demand profile, successful fundraising with Baylor surpassing its initial $1.1 billion Give Light campaign goal last February and its positive endowment performance.
In addition, a recent analysis by The Business Journals of early financial filings by 16 private universities showed that 14 institutions – among them Harvard, Columbia and Johns Hopkins – reported investment losses in their endowment portfolios during fiscal 2022. However, Baylor – with its $174 million investment gain last year – and Macalester College were the only two institutions noted by The Business Journals to generate a positive investment return during what the publication described 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 schools in the analysis to report endowment growth in fiscal 2022.
The Board also heard a year-end financial report highlighted by total assets growing to $3.9 billion, operating revenues totaling $925.1 million and operating expenses reported at $836.5 million.
“This encouraging financial outlook underscores Baylor’s strength and resilience as we move forward as a preeminent Christian Research 1 university and trusted national brand in higher education,” said President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “As good stewards of all we have been blessed with, it is rewarding to see others recognize the impact of Baylor’s R1 designation and our continued development of the five signature initiatives within our Illuminate strategic plan for sponsored research activity and faculty hiring. At the same time, we are experiencing more demand than ever for a Baylor education as students seek an excellent academic experience at a Christian research university that is mid-sized and competes in Power 5 athletics. This is what distinguishes Baylor University and why Baylor is more of a national brand than at any point in its history.”
During its two-day meeting, Regents participated in a strategic business discussion on the University’s Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) plan and its position and pricing in the higher education marketplace. The SEM lays the groundwork for enrollment management or the next five years, which will focus on diversifying the composition of Baylor's student enrollment, increasing affordability and enhancing retention and graduation while staying 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:
- More than 50,000 applications for the Fall 2022 class, with an 18% increase in completed applications surpassing 40,000;
- 47% of the Fall 2022 freshman class from out of state, demonstrating Baylor’s strengthening global and national brand;
- Continued rise in student academic caliber, based on high school class rankings and related coursework and submitted test scores;
- Top undergraduate academic program rankings in U.S. News & World Report, including No. 8 in entrepreneurship, No. 10 for First-year Experience, No. 16 for Learning Communities; No. 16 for Best Undergraduate Teaching; No. 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 Universities, according to global research firm Morning Consult as part of its Most Trusted Brands project, and No. 2 among Most Trusted Universities as rated by parents, behind Princeton and ahead of Duke, Notre Dame and Yale.
In Board business action, Regents approved $78.6 million for phase 2 construction of the Fudge Football Development Center that will house the day-to-day operations for Baylor football coaches and support staff as well as provide a distinct experience for Baylor student-athletes. The total project budget, including phase 1 design and early construction work that began over the summer, is $89.6 million. The facility is expected to be completed during spring 2024.
The Fudge Center will connect to the Allison Indoor Practice Facility, expanding the 80-yard indoor turf field 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 trainers and a locker room for student-athletes, as well as a medical training room, equipment distribution room, a strength and conditioning weight room and a large team meeting room.
The addition of the Fudge Center will enhance the adjacent Simpson Athletics and Academic Center – home to all 19 Baylor athletic programs and more than 525 student-athletes – by expanding the available space for academic advising and support, mental health services, physical therapy and wellness programming. It also allows for the physical expansion of the Student-Athlete Center for Excellence (SACE), including a student-athlete chapel location and expanded character formation and spiritual growth programming.
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 the BEIC to establish subcommittees.
The Regents also heard a summary from the Governance Review Task Force, chaired by former Board Chair Jerry Clements, JD ’81 (2018). The task force reviewed the recommendations from a similar group in 2017 and examined current Board operations. 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 Governance Review Task Force members who devoted their valuable time, considerable expertise and governance acumen to this process. Their independent review demonstrates our Board’s commitment to best practices and continuous improvement,” said Board Chair 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 a compelling one for students and families across the country and the world, and the Board remains focused on ensuring Baylor’s future and its steadfast mission.”
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.